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In which we attempt to calculate how much an organic feast would cost

There's something about Thanksgiving that seems to prompt people to think about where their food comes from. Maybe it's all the cornucopias and sheaves of wheat depicted in supermarket circulars, or maybe it's the focus on the harvest. Visions of farmers bringing in the crops may lead people to think about how food gets to their table, and whether it would make sense, or even make a difference, to try to buy organic food for the holiday meal. The Grist editors asked me to create a Thanksgiving menu and compare the costs of using organic ingredients versus using conventional ones. …

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Readers share instructions for tasty Thanksgiving treats

Try your hand at reader recipes. Photos: iStockphoto A couple of weeks ago, we asked you, dear readers, to send in your favorite Thanksgiving recipes. We got a smorgasbord of replies, from Dilly Dip to The Best Pressed Pie Crust In the World -- and nary a hint of tryptophan in sight. We've collected your scrumptious ideas here, and welcome more from the rest of you in the comments section below. Bon appetit! Appetizers/Sides/Sauces/Stuffing Dilly Dip Cointreau Cranberry Sauce Sherried Leek and Wild Chanterelle Sauce Cranberry-Orange Relish Tempeh and Wild Rice Stuffing with Toasted Hazelnuts Quinoa Stuffing Entrees/Veggies/Soups Sweet Potatoes …

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Locavore is New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year

The word "locavore" has received the esteemed honor of being the New Oxford American Dictionary 2007 Word of the Year. For you non-locavores, the word is defined as "a person who endeavors to eat only locally produced food." It was coined about two years ago by four San Francisco women who popularized the idea of the 100-mile diet. The eco-friendly terminology beat out such worthy contenders as "tase" (to stun with a Taser) and "cougar" (an older woman who romantically pursues younger men).

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Umbra on fireplace ashes

Dear Umbra, What should we do with ashes from the fireplace? I've heard that they're great for the garden and I've heard that they may not be so good for the garden. Are they a good replacement for salt on slippery sidewalks? Janet Allen Syracuse, N.Y. Dearest Janet, Why not make some soap? Here come the holidays, after all. All you'd have to do is run water over the ashes to make potash, boil the potash down into lye, render your old cooking grease, mix it with the lye, not get any chemical burns, let it all cure for a …

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Eensy-weensy Smart car getting a big embrace from U.S. drivers

The Smart car ForTwo is coming to a dealer near you this winter -- or at least, semi-sorta-near you. About 70 dealers around the U.S. will sell the eight-foot-long two-seater starting in January, and more than 30,000 people have put down $99 to reserve theirs. Drawing comparisons to a golf cart and eagerly awaited by urbanites frustrated by tight parking, the Smart car -- sold in 36 countries around the world -- "turns heads wherever it goes," says David Schembri, president of Smart USA. "I tell people, 'If you want to feel like a rock star, drive this car.'"

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Exercise can combat both obesity and global warming, says CDC

Americans facing the triple threat of climate change, obesity, and what-can-I-do-ness can tackle all three by walking or biking instead of driving -- even if just for a half-hour per day -- and eating less red meat. So says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is considering public promotion of everyday exercise as a way to mitigate the challenges of our time.

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Plug-in sports car to hit showrooms in 2010

Fisker Automotive is taking orders for its $80,000 (only $1,000 down!) "4-door plug-in hybrid sports sedan": The specs released so far (PDF) are: Performance details for the first car are impressive achieving 50 miles (80 kilometers) on a pure electric charge [sic]. Additionally, by further utilizing a gasoline or diesel engine offered by Fisker, one can extend the total range of their Fisker to more than 620 miles (1000 kilometers). The first Fisker will also deliver an extraordinary 100 miles per gallon -- performance figures that will ultimately help to reduce the need for the importation of foreign oil. Delivery …

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From Batman to Bra

Holy overused headline, Batman! Riddle us this, riddle us that, who's afraid of dirty water in the land of Chow Yun-Fat? Nananananananana ... Batman! Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures Corn stars The King Corn documentarians have decided to live corn free (as free as the wind blows ...) for 30 days, cobbling together a diet sans the cornucopia of corn-related products. Call them brave, call them crazy -- call them anything but corny. Photo: iStockphoto Hope on a rope Tree sitting is so late '90s. Today's preferred method of tree-related awareness raising: climbing them. All of them. Photo: iStockphoto Reinvent the …

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NBC sitcoms universally … unfunny

Last night I watched the TNSFKAMST (Thursday Night Shows Formerly Known as Must-See TV). To be honest I'd forgotten it was Green Is Universal week; I was just indulging in a little sitcom sitdown. But there was no escaping the green message, and it was ... what's the word? ... artificial and painful and forced. Three of the four shows -- My Name Is Earl, 30 Rock, and Scrubs -- took the over-the-topness over the top, having fun at their bosses' expense and doing the movement no favors. Earl was forced to wedge a green message into a school program …

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Everyday folk found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals

Volunteers across the U.S. were found to have toxic bisphenol-A, PBDEs, and phthalates in their blood and urine, says a small study sponsored by a coalition of environmental health groups. The "Is It in Us?" study analyzed 35 people from seven states; while the sample size was too small to be representative of the larger population, the results were quite similar to those of a huge ongoing study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published research last month suggesting that 92.2 percent of Americans are contaminated with toxins. "Everybody has these toxic chemicals in them," says Max …

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