If there is any topic that any of us probably doesn't want to talk about right now, it's food.
After our national celebration of gluttony, we're more likely to want to talk about diets than desserts.
But I can't help it; there's too much to talk about.
It was especially good in recent days to see such an outpouring of generosity in our community, all of it food-related.
First, of course, was the ever-popular It's Spooky to be Hungry food drive. Golden Harvest Food Bank recently held the weigh-in for the annual drive, announcing this year's totals.
Nearly 350 neighborhood and non-neighborhood collection sites brought in more than 117,429 pounds of food - a significant increase from last year's total of just more than 100,000 pounds.
Cash donations were down slightly, though more than $53,000 is nothing to sneeze at. The number of volunteers increased, with nearly 2,800 participating in the drive.
The Greater Augusta Arts Council was the beneficiary of the opening-night party at Earth Fare, the new "natural" grocery store. They announced this past week that the event brought in $13,000 for the Arts Council.
Wow. It cost $10 to get in, and they made a little money from auctioning art. Still, not including dozens of volunteers and staff members, or the children under 12 who didn't have to pay, that total means more than 1,000 people crowded in for the grocery store's opening. No wonder folks had to park across Furys Ferry Road just to get in.
Finally, in the run-up to Thanksgiving, Chef Jeff Freehof opened his Garlic Clove restaurant Monday for the Italian Thanksgiving Feast, a resurrection of the Turkey Fest held when the restaurant used to be called Peppermill.
With an amazing amount of organizational help from Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker, and with "celebrity" wait staff, the feast raised more than $6,100.
The money is being split between Golden Harvest Food Bank and Columbia County Cares, both of which are feeling the pinch in donations and can use all the help they can get.
In addition to Tucker, who took on the duty as chief cheerleader for the event, Freehof deserves special praise. With the help of sponsors - including Earth Fare, Dr. Butch Garrison, Allegra Printing, Cobbs, Allen and Hall, SuperCoups and Edible Arrangements - Freehof donated the cooking and the food, and gave up all of his regular, paid lunch business.
Help pay back his generosity by tucking in some Italian, would you?
A rave review
Speaking of Italian food, I don't know when I've ever heard a more enthusiastic review of a new restaurant than a call I received the other day from Cherie Casey.
She and her husband, Chris, settled here when he retired from the Army. They're originally from Chicago, and they've been on a quest to authenticate Chicago-style food in the area - specifically, pizza.
She says they've found it at Robolli's Pizza, a recently opened restaurant next to BiLo on Furys Ferry Road at The Pass.
The deep-dish pizza, says Mrs. Casey, is a perfect slice of Chicago. And right about now, I'm sure it's better than leftover turkey.
And speaking of leftovers, at the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Post-Legislative Breakfast in June, one of the hot topics was the then-relatively recent DUI arrest of state Rep. Ben Harbin.
It's already time for the chamber's pre-legislative breakfast, set for Tuesday, and Harbin's case still isn't resolved. It was scheduled for court in Atlanta two weeks ago, and the case was postponed once again.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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