Before I dish up another informative and educational weekend weather forecast, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk turkey.
And I mean that literally, because I spent several hours Thursday night in Red River College's state-of-the-art culinary school stuffing my face as one of four judges in the Iron Chef turkey competition.
This is the annual battle wherein the college's top student chefs are given about two hours to whip up an appetizer and a main course using ground turkey and boneless, skinless turkey breasts.
We judges gobbled such fowl fare as panko-crusted turkey meatballs, turkey ravioli with sage butter and toasted fennel, turkey wontons and turkey empanadas.
The eight student chefs cooked up a turkey-flavoured storm, which is very similar to Environment Canada's forecast, only without the storm. The weather office says we're looking at a cloudy weekend, with a high of -6 C today and -7 C on Sunday, compared with the normal high of -6 C.
"It'll be kind of a grey weekend with near-normal temperatures," my pal Dale Marciski from Environment Canada told me, noting a low-pressure system out of the west should bring us snow Monday through Tuesday, with some possible flurries Wednesday.
When I insisted Dale include a few curling clichés in honour of the Roar of the Rings tournament, he delivered this: "This weekend is just the lead rocks for some more severe weather in the house. With the high winds on Monday and Tuesday, Mother Nature will be doing a lot of sweeping."
Fun weather fact: Dale says we have had 25 centimetres of snow in the city so far, up a touch from the normal 20 cm at this time of year. Last year at this time, we already had 40 cm.
Speaking of sweeping, we strongly suggest you pick up tickets (curling.ca/tickets) for Roar of the Rings, which kicks off Sunday and will see the top 16 curling teams in Canada duke it out for the right to represent our country in the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The Weather Column will be there and we expect to see curling fanatics doing whatever they do at these events. We also expect to see you making merry this weekend at the annual Festival of Trees and Lights in the Manitoba Hydro Gallery, 360 Portage Ave., featuring amazing trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and entertainment. Admission is free, donations gratefully accepted.
And since you're in such a festive mood, don't forget to visit the Winnipeg Humane Society's shelter at 45 Hurst Way on Sunday between noon and 4 p.m. for Paws for the Season, its annual holiday open house. We're talking tree-lighting, baked goods, crafts and adoptable dogs and cats. It's free.
Even if you're not a curling champ, we are all winners at this time of year, especially 21-year-old student chef Randy Greig, who cooked his way to the $1,000 first prize in the Iron Chef turkey competition with his turkey roulade stuffed with cranberries and apples in a cranberry/balsamic gastrique with fondant potatoes, cauliflower-leek puree and tomatoes confit. "My turkey was a bit overcooked but everything else turned out great!" Randy said of his victory.
The last rock: We'd like to remind you curlers not to go crazy when you see fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy at the MTS Centre on Sunday. We don't want him to think we're a bunch of turkeys. So, stay classy, Winnipeg.