Amuse Bouche’

by Brian Clarey

UNCG economist Christopher J. Ruhm has predicted that by the year 2020 the obesity epidemic in the United States will reach, pardon the pun, critical mass, with almost half of adults classified as “obese” and the amount of “severely obese” folks – weighing in at 60 percent above their ideal body weight – to double.

Members of Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. are doing their part to sustain our, er, growth with the creation of Fast Food Friends, a program that encourages parishioners to pay for the car behind them when they’re in the fast food drive-thru lane, and also to pass on a booklet for the church to the lucky frymongers.

And the Olive Garden, that all-you-can-eat haven for fleshy pasta fans, will be doing their best to swell our numbers with a new location in Burlington, at 1770 Glidewell Drive – but no matter what the commercial says, if you’ve got a relative in from Sicily, don’t bring her there.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened a new Greensboro location, its second, on Westover Terrace and Battleground Avenue, but if you’re looking to lard up for winter this may not be your best choice – they actually use fresh ingredients and naturally raised meats.

If you believe in the link between what you eat and how you feel, then you understand that diet is an important part of cancer prevention. Learn about the power of antioxidants, fiber and raw food when the Cancer Project gives a free Cancer Prevention and Survival Cooking Class on Monday at Elon University. The class begins at 7 p.m.; call 336.278.5561 to register.

It is fact that grapes are chock full of antioxidants, and even Jack La Lanne has touted the salubrious benefits of a glass of red wine. So join my friends at Bert’s Seafood Grille for a wine sampling, also on Monday. The price, $30, includes six wines and heavy appetizers.

On Friday, Natty Greene’s in Greensboro will donate 10 percent of all sales to the MacKay Foundation for Cancer Research, so it’s a good day to go in and try the buffalo burger.

On Saturday hit the parking lot of the Winston-Salem Whole Foods Market for Oktoberfest classics like grilled brats and other sausages. Inside Chef Alex Swaim will discuss seafood and the best ways to procure and prepare it.

And all weekend long will be the Foggy Ridge Cider Fall Harvest Festival in Dugspur, Va. The festival will feature “hard” and “sweet” cider paired with artisan cheeses and down-home music. See for more details.

E-mail your food and drink information to Brian Clarey at