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Published: Sunday, 12/9/2012

COMMENTARY

Wishing for a place to eat on Christmas?

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE FOOD EDITOR

You probably remember the ending to A Christmas Story: The Parker family’s Christmas turkey is eaten by the neighbors’ dogs, and the only place they can get a meal on Christmas is a Chinese restaurant (where the duck head comes attached to the duck).

Finding a place to eat out on Christmas can be even harder than finding one on Thanksgiving. Yet many people want or need a restaurant on that day, and often for reasons that do not involve their neighbors’ dogs.

If any of you restaurant owners plan to be open on Christmas Day, let us know (email us at food@theblade.com or call 419-724-6155). We will publish a list of open restaurants, hungry people looking for restaurants will see the information, and everybody will be happy.

Bringing people who need food together with people who have food on the most-closed day of the year — it’s just one more service out of a multitude we cheerfully provide here at Morsels.

No money is necessary. We do it for the joy of helping others. Also, the judge ordered it as part of our community service.

Don’t assail wassail

Wassup, wassail?

This time of year, you might sing about wassail, or at least about going a-wassailing, but you probably don’t actually drink much of the stuff.

Wassail, as you medieval scholars know, is a hot mulled cider made from a base of wine and an assortment of spices. But it can be hard to find around these parts, and for the last three centuries.

But that will change on Friday in Blissfield, Mich., during the second annual Wassail Festival presented by the Blissfield Rotary Club. From 5-8 p.m. various locations around downtown Blissfield will be serving up 11 different kinds of wassail, each of them made with locally grown wine. And the best part is that you get to vote on your favorites. The makers of the winning wassail will receive a trophy.

The tipsy fun — sorry, the traditional holiday fun — begins at Mohr’s Barber Shop, 112 S. Lane St., where $12 will get you a ceramic mug, a ratings sheet, and a list of all the places that will be serving the wassail. Meanwhile, you can stop by two warming stations, complete with fire pits, where you can join the medievally clad members of the Cynnabar Collegium Musicum in singing Christmas carols.

You must be 21 to participate. If you don’t want the alcohol, hot chocolate will be available at Cakes ‘n Shakes, 133 S. Lane St.

Organic confab

It’s the hottest ticket in town.

Granted, Granville, Ohio, east of Columbus, is not all that big a town. But even so, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s annual conference on sustainable food and farming always sells out, drawing more than 1,100 attendees (in contrast, Granville itself is a town of less than 5,700 souls).

The 34th annual conference, Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change, will take place Feb. 16 and 17, and registration for it is now open. According to program director Renee Hunt in a press release, it is directed at professional farmers, backyard gardeners, and local-food enthusiasts.

The Feb. 16 keynote speaker will be George Siemon, who was organic when organic wasn’t cool. He is the CEO of Organic Valley, one of the best-known brands of organic food, and was one of the founders of its parent company, Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP). He helped develop national standards for organic certification and began Farmers Advocating for Organics, a granting fund that focuses on organic farming.

The keynote speaker on Feb. 17 will be Nicolette Hahn Niman, an attorney, rancher, and author of the amusingly named Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms. She is also married to Bill Niman, founder of the famous Niman Ranch, which is a natural meat cooperative.

Throughout the weekend, there will be more than 90 educational workshops covering everything from alternative energy sources and beekeeping to plant grafting, weed and pest management, and farm business management. One workshop will be devoted to homeschooling.

There is plenty more, including two pre-conference events, but we only have so much room. Information on the whole shebang can be found at oeffa.org/2013, along with information about registration. Admission is $205 for both days ($145 for association members), or $120 ($85 for members) for one day. Students can get in for $90 ($65 for members).

Items for Morsels may be submitted up to two weeks before an event to food@theblade.com.



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