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Thursday, October 13, 2005 | October is hunkering-down month for the fellows of the Kettner Blvd. College of Turkey Surgeons and Airport Relocation Committee.

The task is never far from our minds, but October is the month when we seek to give our imaginations some sort of physical shape. There is a way to infuse moisture into roast turkey. It seemed so simple, in its theoretical form last July, doodling it out on paper. But now it is October, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. How do we turn theory into contraption? Every year, we reach this point, and it turns the precious October days into a blur.

CostCo this season is carrying the deep-fry contraption that was gaining popularity a few years ago, fueled by famous food writers who could not ignore the opportunity to write about some Southern back-yard jet mechanic dropping a whole, 18-pound turkey into a vat of boiling oil. It was fun reading, with the warnings about explosions, and the harness into which the cooks fitted the turkey, then with long, oar-like extensions lowered the harnessed turkey into the vat, and the caveat about doing this only outside, and never in the garage or other enclosed place that you wouldn’t want to blow up or burn down.

We always enjoy reading such material, because of its spiritual connection to airport relocation, which is the College’s other commission (our motto: “Not likely to happen in our lifetime.”) It is totally possible that reading about, and visualizing, the lowering of a whole turkey into boiling oil with harnesses and oars will lead directly to a fruitful idea about where to relocate the airport.

By the same token, I enjoyed reading a long op-ed piece in the Union-Tribune last week, about relocating the airport to Imperial County. Apparently they have their own Airport Relocation Committee out there, and this piece was written by the committee’s chair. He is an attorney also, I recall, which helps. Attorneys tend to see turkeys as turkeys and airports as airports, with no need to discuss where the thing is, or whether it is juicy or not. “Define ‘where,’” he will say, if it comes up. “Define ‘juice’.”

He engaged in some interesting theorizing about the value of a desert-sited airport roughly 100 miles east of downtown San Diego, making it about 97 miles more distant than Lindbergh Field but accessible by what he called MagLevs, and reading it made my mouth water. What a totally logical place, in a MagLev contraption speeding toward an airport in Imperial County, to encounter the “Eureka!” moment of infusing moisture into a roast turkey.

We left the CostCo contraption on the shelf because of the “too much trouble” rule. There is a point where food preparation becomes more trouble than it is worth. We are glad to see Martha Stewart out of prison and re-installed as queen of the “more trouble than it is worth” school of cuisine, which is fun to watch. And of course it would be instructive to hear what she has to say about airport relocation, and sliced turkey on white bread with heavy mayonnaise, which for the 200th straight year remains the only reasonable way to eat turkey.

Journalist, author and educator Michael Grant has been putting his spin on San Diego, and the city putting its spin on him, since 1972. His Web site is at

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