HE AIN'T TURKEY, HE'S MY BROTHER The holiday season is usually when Tofurkey comes out to play. Butt of a thousand jokes, tofu "turkey" is thankfully not the only holiday alternative to roast beast for meatless eaters these days. According to veggie propaganda machine www.GentleThanksgiving.org (equally applicable to Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the like), "unturkey" takes many forms. Lentil, nut, or seitan roast can be a reasonable turkey facsimile, while increasingly birdlike tofu-based "poultry" is available online (www.nowandzen.net) and at supermarkets such as Whole Foods and PCC. Remember: It may never have gobbled, but we bet you'll gobble it up! (Sorry about that.) SIPPIN' CIDER In colonial days, cider was the poor man's beer, but times have changed so radically that the little cider that's available commercially usually comes from cider mills in England and France. To tip the balance back a bit, the Northwest Cider Society recently held the first North American Cider Competition, tasting 30 beverages from the U.S. and Canada, all made by small operators working with fresh juice from apple varieties grown specifically for cider. The good news: Six of the eight medal winners are Northwest-made, including two of the three bottles that took home the gold: Merridale Traditional from Cobble Hill, B.C., and Westcott Bay Vintage Cider of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Ballard Market stocks the latter in its wine department at around $5 per 22-ounce bottle. DOES DEMI-GLACE COME IN BULK? It's a cross between catering and co-op cooking, and apparently it's all the rage. Kirkland-based company Month of Meals (www.monthofmeals.com), whose new Redmond kitchen opened Nov. 11, aims to supplant take-out meals and frozen foods as the time-saving culinary trick families prefer (and can afford). The premise is simple enough: The company (which calls itself MOM) gathers the raw materials; then you trot into their kitchen, cook for a few hours, and go home with enough prepared food forthat's right!a month of meals. Dishes like scampi, Swedish meatballs, and French onion soup range from $1.50 to $3.50 per serving, which makes MOM (in theory, at least) akin to Costco for foodies: interesting food, and lots of it, for a total cost that breaks down nicelyif your freezer's big enough to hold a month's worth of chow, that is. GETTING FRESH Just when we've all gotten used to looking down on le Beaujolais nouveau as nothing but le annual French wine hype, along comes The New York Times' wine critic Frank J. Prial to tell us not to cross the 2003 crop of just-out-of- the-fermenter booze juice off our dance card. Seems the hot, hot summer of '03, which fried a lot of France's finer grapes, put a fine finish on Beaujolais' answer to Boone's Farm. If you didn't attend one of the spendy affairs celebrating nouveau's arrival in town last weekend, all is not lost; there'll be plenty more where that came from on sale at wine stores. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at firstname.lastname@example.org.