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In the news: Preparing Thanksgiving for 14,000

Addie Broyles

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

I’m just back from a week in Missouri, where I loaded up on family time, turkey and a whopping 40 pound of what might be the best apples in the country.

If you’re just catching up after the holiday week, here is what you missed:

On Sunday, the Statesman launched its annual Season for Caring campaign, where we adopt 12 area families in need and tell their stories in an effort to help them get back on their feet and have a happier holiday. This is the 15th year for the campaign, which has raised more $8 million since its start in 1999. This fall, it’s been an honor to work with Anissa Robinson and her family, which includes two boys who have sickle cell disease and their big sister, who does not have health issues and has been a source of inspiration and strength for her mom. Anissa is a single mom who has struggled to get back on her feet after a divorce and frequent hospitalizations for both boys. I’ll be writing more stories about them throughout the holiday season.

Today, Whataburger helped kick off the Season for Caring fundraising campaign with a $25,000 donation that will go to each of the nonprofit agencies that in turn can help the families in need. You can make a financial donation here, but if you have goods and services to donate, please directly contact the nominating agency, whose contact info is attached to each story we run through the end of the year.

H-E-B hosted its annual Feast of Sharing dinner at the Palmer Events Center last week, where the grocer and several hundred volunteers served some 14,000 free Thanksgiving dinners.

Restaurant critic Matthew Odam shared his love of Szechuan House in a recent review, and he also has the latest on Hill’s Cafe reopening after a fire last week and what former La Condesa chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki have up their sleeves. Foreign & Domestic has also started selling tickets for its second annual Indie Chefs Week in January.

Before heading off to Chicago, former Liquid Austin columnist Emma Janzen rounded up the 10 most noteworthy bars in Austin right now, which made me realize I have a lot of holiday catching up to do over drinks.

Investigative reporter Tony Plohetski dug into the city’s health inspection records to find out how well food trailers fared compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

The Gulf oyster season is underway, but things aren’t looking good.

Freelance travel writer Becca Hensley didn’t just eat in San Sebastian recently; she toured the Basque Culinary Center for this story in the travel section and then put her newfound knowledge to work in one of Europe’s finest food towns.

And finally, in a story that tugged on my own Swedish heart strings, reporter Esther Robards-Forbes made lefse, a potato pancake that is often made around the holidays, with a group of fellow Scandinavians who have been getting together to make food from their homeland for 25 years.