Edible ornaments aren't just for occupational-therapy patients or bird-loving revelers anymore. The Food Network is readying to award $10,000 to the winner of its televised Edible Ornament Challenge at the Grove Park Inn today (Wednesday, Dec. 6). You better believe these competitors aren't just thinking popcorn garlands and pinecones smeared with peanut butter. The public is welcome to watch the contestants decorate their 8-foot-tall trees in the Heritage Ballroom from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today. According to a spokesman for the Grove Park Inn, the peak viewing hours are after 5 p.m. (which is the same hour door prizes begin to be trotted out). Competing in the event are New York City wedding-cake baker Jason Ellis; Melissa Murphy, owner of Brooklyn's Sweet Melissa's; Stevie Famulari, a self-described "edible artist" who fashions landscapes out of sugar and Michael Daniels, an upstart from Pasadena, Calif. The competition will be judged in three rounds: garland, ornaments and tree-topper. Rules of the game say one round must celebrate "Holiday Memories." For more information, call the Grove Park at 252-2711.
Christmas means turkey for many families, including those served by MANNA FoodBank. To meet the demand, MANNA is collecting turkeys for its 348 partner agencies to distribute during the holiday season. The "Gobble Up Hunger Turkey Drive" has set a goal of 1,000 birds. If you have a frozen turkey to donate, please drop it off at MANNA's Food Donation and Volunteer Center at 623 Swannanoa Road, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have several frozen turkeys, call 299-3663 to arrange a pick-up. And if you'd rather just write a check -- $10 buys one 12-to-14-pound bird -- make it payable to MANNA Turkey Drive and send it to 627 Swannanoa River Road, Asheville, N.C. 28805.