Thanksgiving is the holiday that's all about the food. Today, we've got a full menu of culinary tales. We begin with a cooking class for a group of folks who haven't had the chance to do much cooking in a very, very long time. We pay a visit to a class where former inmates are learning their way around a kitchen.
The former inmates we just heard from will have to wait until next April to be eligible for food stamps and other public benefits. Until then, what do you do when you get out of prison with no money, and nothing to eat? As part of our health series Vital Signs, we hear from Aus Jarrar. He was released after an 11-year sentence just weeks ago. Without food stamps, he's one charity meal away from hunger. We caught up with him as he rushed around downtown Oakland looking for food.
Music Bridge 1: "Without You" by Eddie Vedder from "Ukulele Songs"
Those of us who are lucky enough to have the option of indulging this Thanksgiving will eat, and eat, and eat some more -- and then sit around a lot. As this perfect storm of calories approaches, we present a favorite story from last year. Reporter Rachael Myrow found a class in Marin County that teaches "mindful eating," which urges us to slow down, and put down our knife and fork.
For most folks, turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving table. And just before we dig in, someone will be the designated carver-in-chief. These days, many amateur chefs are getting their knives sharpened so serving up that bird for Thanksgiving dinner comes off without a hitch. Earlier this week, we paid a visit to someone who learned a thing or two about the importance of a good, sharp knife as an artist.
Music Bridge 2: "Turkey In The Straw / Arkansas Traveler" by Frank Fairfield, from "Out On the Open West" (Tompkins Square)
Some Thanksgiving tables will surely include quinoa, the protein-packed grain that's becoming a staple on restaurant menus. You can find the dried version at most grocery stores these days. But in Los Angeles, you can also find it on the side of the road. Wild quinoa grows all over L.A. It's actually thriving, despite the drought. We meet a scientist who thinks this roadside weed could help feed the world.
Music Bridge 3: "Trains and Boats and Planes" by Jim O'Rourke, from "All Kinds of People - Love Burt Bacharach"
Now, the best part of the meal: dessert. One tradition for many Japanese-Americans is to bring Manju, or Japanese pastries, to family gatherings. But making the pastry is considered a dying art. There's one manju bakery in the Central Valley that draws customers from all over the state. It's in Fresno's Chinatown -- and it's been run by the same family for nearly a century.
End Music: "The Turkey Hop" by The Johnny Otis Rhythm & Blues Caravan, from "The Complete Savoy Recordings" (SLG)