Everything you never knew you needed to know about food, beverage, and lifestyle.

Hark! The holidays are upon us. We are days away from Thanksgiving, people are already putting up their Christmas lights, and the New Year is right around the corner.

Considering that this holiday season might make or break our national healthcare system, thanks to 2020s most enduring drama, the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s probably best to hunker down, cosplay a misanthrope, and sympathize with old Ebeneezer Scrooge’s point of view for a year.

It’s still November, though. So that means Thanksgiving: turkey and cornbread and mashed potatoes and in-laws and your cousins who you would rather not see but have to anyways. It’s a lovely time for all involved, whether you are doing it online, or in-person.

Well, be assured reader. This year will end. Time keeps marching forward regardless, and news is made whether it’s newsworthy or not, so here is your November update.

Jameson Irish Whiskey Christmas “Trees”

Nothing says Christmas like a tree made exclusively out of Jameson Irish Whiskey bottles, at least to those who are fans of the world-famous spirit. Jameson Irish Whiskey, a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard USA, is betting on that fact by offering customers the chance to win one of seven trees this holiday season. The trees, made from one-hundred thirty backlit bottles, stand at an enormous nine-feet tall, and offer pleasant whiffs of triple-distilled Irish whiskey, rather than the usual pine-y wood dandruff.

Customers can enter to win by visiting their website. Impress your significant other with this classy and foolproof Christmas option! Become a local hero for your freshman college dorm room! Hide your alcoholism with this quirky soon-to-be antique tree with little-to-no resale value!

Of course, what seems like a little fun and games could actually bring about our own reckoning. What’s next, a menorah made out of empty wine bottles? Nativity scenes made from repurposed Bud Light cans? Vodka sponsored Christmas caroling? The gods do not look kindly upon this kind of idolatry.

Ok, yes, I am now officially taking this too seriously.

More Than A Gobble

Forget the bald eagle… our national bird should be the turkey. Benjamin Franklin even said so! And he, like, invented electricity, or whatever, so ya know, that’s really saying something.

In all seriousness, I don’t think any other bird is as deeply ingrained in our American consciousness. Kids in elementary school don’t make hand drawings of bald eagles, or cardinals, or orioles. They make turkeys! When you get three strikes in a row while bowling, you call it a turkey! Herman Melville even named a character, who reddened and grew more ill-tempered as the work day went along, Turkey, in his story “Bartleby The Scrivener.” Hilarious!

On the consumption side of things, experts (turkey experts?) estimate there is at least one turkey raised every yer per American. Furthermore, a whopping 88% of Americans eat turkey every Thanksgiving, with Christmas and Easter also being popular times for the bird. And at least half of that percentage complain about it every year! It’s too dry… it’s too gamey… I like ham better…. and yet Thanksgiving wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without one. If that’s not some serious staying power, I don’t know what is.

Me, I love turkey. I love how versatile it is. You can roast it whole, break it into its separate parts and roast it that way (which is the best way to ensure that you are not overcooking your bird). It can take a variety of marinades. You can brine it, fry it, sous vide it, confit it, smoke it, stir fry it, put it in soup, and much much more. Way better than anything you can do with a boring honey-glazed ham.

Thus, the turkey is an emblem of America. If the bald eagle is the regal, idealistic version of our country soaring high above, untouchable and sacrosanct, that flightless, stumbling bird called the turkey is emblematic of America as it actually is, quick-tempered, big bellied, and with a mating call that will make your ears bleed. So show it some damn respect.

Trailblazing Wine

It’s not often that my love of basketball and wine get to mix, put Portland Trailblazer’s star CJ McCollum is giving me the chance to talk about both. The 2016 NBA Most Improved player has his own Pinot Noir, the McCollum Heritage 91, made in partnership with Adelsheim Vineyard. The hopefully soon-to-be all-star has taken advantage of his close proximity to the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s renown Pinot Noir growing region. McCollum credits his wife for introducing him to wine during college, and teammate (and future hall-of-famer) Carmelo Anthony with further exposing him to the world of wine. McCollum says he still has a lot to learn, which, if we are being honest, is a great place to be when it comes to wine. The world is your oyster CJ.

The 2018 vintage of the McCollum Heritage 91 is already sold out, but you can join their mailing list to get ahead of the game for 2019.

Also, CJ, if you ever read this, I just want you to know, your mid-range pull-up game is poetry in motion.

Pandemic Travel Crash Course

It’s been a grim year for the tourism and travel industries, and while we seem to be taking a step backwards as case counts rise across the country, airline companies and others are solidifying their codes of conduct for traveling during this global pandemic. Here’s a few general guidelines you can follow to help keep Covid-19 contained:

  • Do you have a cough? ⇒ YES ⇒ Stay home.
  • Are you over the age of 60? ⇒ YES ⇒ Stay home.
  • Have you experienced a loss in your sense of taste or smell? ⇒ YES ⇒ Stay home.
  • Do you enjoy not having Covid-19? ⇒ YES ⇒ Stay home.
  • Do you enjoy your friends and family not having Covid-19? ⇒ YES ⇒ Stay home.
  • Are you an essential worker? ⇒ NO ⇒ Stay home.
  • Is running a hot-yoga/carnitas taqueria pop-up essential work? ⇒ NO ⇒ Stay home.
  • Is Covid-19 a hoax made up by Bill Gates to insert microchips into us? ⇒ NO! ⇒ Stay home.
  • Am I responsible for the lockdowns and the lack of aid? ⇒ NO ⇒ Stay home.
  • Am I lampooning a serious issue with lots of nuance and complications just to try to get a laugh? ⇒ YES ⇒ Stay home.

But seriously, don’t listen to me. Listen to the experts. Please. Let’s toast to staying safe this holidays, so we can all have many future holidays to toast to.

Happy holidays, everyone.

By Aldo Moreno