Giving thanks for cheese If you want to contribute to the Thanksgiving feast, but are kitchen-impaired, cheesemonger Song Lee suggests an all-American cheese plate. Her top five? Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a Gruyère-style cheese from Uplands Cheese Co. in Dodgeville, Wis., chosen Best of Show in the American Cheese Society competition for the third time in 10 years, besting 1,400 other cheeses. For the necessary "stinky," Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, a pungent washed-rind cheese from Cowgirl Creamery in California, that Lee suggests pairing with some apricot preserves. Vermont Cremont is a silky soft goat/cow's milk cheese, and for chevre, consider Signature Chevre from Stickney Hill Dairy in Kimball, Minn., great with fruit chutney. For blue, Lee likes Northern Lights Blue, made in St. Paul, which she'll eat as dessert when paired with some dried figs and a good local honey. Lee chooses cheeses for the France 44 Cheese Shop, 4351 France Av. S., Minneapolis, and St. Paul Cheese Shop, 1573 Grand Av., St. Paul. Give thanks, indeed.

Perennial Plate informs It's good to know where food comes from, especially when it's in our back yard. Daniel Klein is a chef, a filmmaker and activist who for the past year has been posting weekly short documentaries about food in Minnesota on the Perennial Plate ( From squirrels to fish to butter to wild rice and more, he seeks out those who fill our tables with good food. One of his latest ventures takes him into Wisconsin for a fascinating look at the Jonjak Cranberry Farm in Hayward. Klein, 28, was born in St. Paul, but grew up in England, and has been involved in human rights and social justice movements worldwide, with stints at top restaurants along the way, so the site also includes recipes. Be forewarned: His films, particularly regarding animals, pull no punches. But now you'll really know.

COCH open house Cooks of Crocus Hill will host its annual Thanksgiving Open House from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at its St. Paul and Edina locations. Mini-classes ($15 each) will be offered on bird preparation, simple side dishes and desserts. There also will be in-store specials on Thanksgiving items. Register online at or call 651-228-1333 for more details.

Lights, camera, safety! In case you don't already have enough to do for Thanksgiving, why not capture your efforts on video? The Partnership for Food Safety Education is sponsoring the My Food-Safe Holiday video contest. Entrants should share a short story about their food traditions and the safe preparation of favorite foods in videos of two minutes or less in length. Each video also must show at least two of the four core safe-food handling practices of clean, separate, cook and chill, as described at The winning video earns $250. For details, visit the site and click on "food safety videos."

Heirloom cookbooks Canceled due to last Saturday's snowstorm, Hella Buchheim's class on heirloom cookbooks will be Dec. 11 at the Minnesota Genealogy Society, 1185 Concord St. N., Suite 218, in South St. Paul. The free class is from 10:30 a.m. to noon.