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Now You're Cooking

Grecycle: Holiday Cooking Oil Recycling Drive
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 25
3390 N. Richey Blvd.; 6160 E. Broadway Blvd.
www.grecycle.com

We all know that the excess oil that results from cooking can cause big issues. Also known by its street name of "grease," excess oil can become a burden on those forced to dispose of it. But there are only so many times you can pour it down the sink, in your bathtub or in your pool, producing epic clogs, before you just give up and stop cooking things like delicious Thanksgiving turkeys.

OK, so perhaps cooking oil and excess grease are not really that bothersome. But they can still be put to good use, and you can still enjoy a delicious, greasy turkey this Thanksgiving without dreading what to do with the grease.

Grecycle (take a moment with that one), Tucson's first-ever holiday cooking-oil recycling drive, will be held this Friday. The recycling drive is co-sponsored by the Pima County Wastewater Management Department and Tucson Clean Cities Coalition, and the groups hope to turn your excess cooking oil into something viable, or at least earth-friendly.

According to the press release for the grease drive, the groups are "collecting used cooking oil to accomplish four things: 1) educate the public on the importance of grease-free sewers, 2) reduce the historically high incidence of grease-related sanitary sewer overflows during the holidays, 3) collect waste cooking oil for use in biodiesel production, and 4) create public interest in air quality and cleaner burning fuels such as biodiesel." Sweet.

The event, being held at two locations, will also provide donors with information on fat-free sewers, biodiesel fuel and other clean-burning fuels. If you still think you'd rather dump that excess oil on your lawn, all grease donors will be eligible to win prizes like a $100 gift certificate to Park Place Mall (the winner will be announced at the conclusion of the event).

Grecycle makes for the ideal event: It's good for the environment; it's free, and it offers the always-tempting potential to win free stuff. --M.P.


Glassy Gifts

BYOB (Blow Your Own Ball)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 26, 27 and Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18
Sonoran Glass Art Academy, 633 W. 18th St.
884-7814

If you read last week's Tucson Weekly gift guide (well written, if I may say), you noticed a shortage of one thing: homemade gifts. It should go without saying, but a gift made with your own blood, sweat and tears (or the figurative versions of those things) is often the best thing you can give a loved one (unless they're really hung up on a portable DVD player or something).

Well, the Sonoran Glass Art Academy realizes this and has stepped in to offer its expertise in making you a holiday hero. The company invites you to BYOB (Blow Your Own Ball--no booze is involved). Thankfully, you don't have to be an expert in the art of glassblowing to create the ideal holiday ornament or keepsake. Why? Because an SGAA staff artist will aid you with every step of your glassblowing, ornament-making process. The process takes roughly 15 minutes, and your private artisan--according to their press release--will help you turn molten glass into "a personal keepsake or special one-of-a-kind gift." Or, at the very least, a really cool-looking piece of molten glass.

If you still feel trepidation about creating something temporary, like a snowman holiday ball, don't fret, because "participants will create an ornament that can be enjoyed all year long, not only as a holiday souvenir." So, you can make other glassblown items and gifts, like a "suncatcher" or "tabletop memento."

A session costs $40, and the SGAA suggests that the workshop is ideal for individuals, groups and company parties (so, essentially everyone). Plus, groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts. So BYOB at one of the many available dates and give the gift that says, "I blew glass to make this for you." --M.P.


Bang the Steel Drum Slowly

University of Arizona Steel Band Concert
7:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 27
UA Crowder Hall, Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue
621-1162

On Howard Stern's radio show recently, Mr. Stern talked at length about how easy it was to play the steel drum. He then played a cover song performed by his band, The Losers, with him on steel drum. Guess what? He sucked (part of the gimmick, sure, but the point remains). Turns out those giant kettles aren't that easy to play, and that's one reason why watching the University of Arizona Steel Band in concert should be impressive.

Another? It's cheap. At just $9 for general admission, $7 for UA employees and seniors (55+), and $5 for students, it's quite affordable. Plus, according to the press release, this group is very popular, and their concerts are usually near-capacity.

Under the direction of Mike Sammons, the group will perform its "traditional fall concert" and will include several selections from the band's upcoming third CD (set to be released in early 2006). Guest artist Chris Wabich from Los Angeles will also be onhand, playing the drum set and steel drums. Wabich is a popular drummer who travels the world as a "steel drum builder, tuner, arranger and performer." His credits include performing and recording with Sting, Brian Bromberg, Axiom of Choice and Boogsie Sharpe.

Meanwhile, the University of Arizona Steel Band is dedicated to "the preservation and expansion of the steel pan art form." They perform a variety of styles, including calypso, reggae, classical, contemporary jazz and pop. No word on whether they'll do the extended jam steel drum version of "Let It Be" that I'm imagining, but that'd be pretty cool.

The proceeds from the show support the UA Steel Band program, and the group's second CD, interestingly titled Live From Crowder Hall, will also be on sale. The third CD can be preordered, too. Check out the UA Steel Band with Wabich and enjoy Stern's favorite dissed instrument, go to Crowder Hall this Sunday. --M.P.


Vegan-urkey

Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner
4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 24
Lovin' Spoonfuls Vegetarian Restaurant
2990 N. Campbell Ave.
682-0075

Thanksgiving has been dubbed "Turkey Day" because of those long-necked, saggy-chinned, fat-bottomed birds that make the rockin' world go 'round. Of course, then there's football analyst John Madden, who one-ups the idea and serves Turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) to grateful linemen every Thanksgiving. However, there are those out there who don't actually eat meat, and Thanksgiving can often be an awkward holiday for those animal-conscious folks stuck dining with us carnivores.

Not any more. Thanks to Tucson's vegetarian and vegan-conscious Lovin' Spoonfuls restaurant, and the Vegetarian Resource Group of Tucson, this "Turkey Day" can become V-Day ("Vegan Day") for those vegans and vegetarians. For the great price of $13.95 ($8.95 for kids 10 and younger, with a discount for VRGT members), those with an aversion towards meat can munch down on a kickin' Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings and none of the--for them--bad stuff.

The special menu includes a mock turkey, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, carslied corn (not really clear on this one myself), green beans almondine, whole cranberry sauce, tossed green salad with choice of dressing, dinner roll, pumpkin pie and Apple Betty. Sounds pretty damn good, meat or no meat.

So, to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner your way, head to Lovin' Spoonfuls Vegetarian Restaurant. And a mighty thanks to you for reading the Weekly on your holiday. --M.P.

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More by Michael Petitti

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