Humans need surprisingly little to survive: shelter, water, food, the Dallas Observer. As for Americans, we take these natural necessities and then take them to the extreme. Warehouse-sized homes with five bedrooms, three baths, game room--for one lonely occupant. Bottled water from only the freshest streams, pristine valleys, regal mountaintops...and the local water-treatment plant. But let's not forget the food. I once saw a guy tossing around racial slurs about Mexicans while standing in line to fulfill his Taco Bell craving. Irony aside, food is one of the few things that unify us all and, at the same time, exhibit our differences, deliciously. Recognizing our love of food and the power of the palate, Susan Taylor offers culinary tours that tickle our tastes and make last year's summer clothes all that more difficult to writhe into. In addition to her February 5 Fiesta Tour, Taylor offers tour themes ranging from the vaguely broad International Culinary Tour to the Around the World in Dallas Culinary Tour. Then there's the Herb Farm Tour. (Yeah, it's all legal. We, uh, looked into it.) And then there are the tours for holidays that some of us don't know about let alone celebrate, including a Mexican Day of the Dead Tour and the Chinese New Year-Valentine's Day Culinary Tour. It might be a good idea to take precautionary measures against the dreaded fanny pack because, chances are, it'll be that kind of crowd. Getting a camera-heavy fanny pack to the temple while bending over to tie your shoe is a guaranteed way to ruin your day. The Fiesta Tour on February 5 runs 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and costs $55. Contact Susan Taylor Tours Inc. at 214-766-3088 or visit www.susantaylortours.com. --Jonathan Freeman
Make the Grade
Adult writers often look back on their young writer days and cringe. Flowery poetry about some thug who grew up to run the local dump is enough to make us gather bonfire kindling. Artist and writer Mông-Lan saves the new generation from such embarrassment by offering free writing workshops. She'll encourage writers ages 13 to 18 to get inspiration from the museum's many artistic works instead of some guy in calculus class who carves winged horses on his desk. Arts & Letters Live's Young Writers Workshops are from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. February 5 at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St., and February 26 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. Admission is free. Call 214-922-1219. --Stephanie Durham
Night of Knights
Listen up, pal, because you need help. Your best friend won't tell you this--he's probably a geek, too--but we will: No one...repeat... no one wants to hear you do the rude French knights bit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And the holy hand grenade countdown thing? That may have wowed the boys back at the dorm room, but you're all grown up now. Enough already. You're addicted to Python, and you need help. But before you look up the number for Python Addicts Anonymous, we suggest you indulge in one last fling at The Palace Arts Center, 300 S. Main St. in Grapevine, which is showing Holy Grail at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Call 817-410-3100. --Patrick Williams
It's the middle of winter and the weather's not the only thing running hot and cold. Your tan has faded and your jogging shoes are buried somewhere under the Christmas ornaments in the garage. Valentine's Day is around the corner and you realize you need some pretty strong juju to get romance back into the night. Hyatt Regency DFW chef Michael Barber has your recipe for love during Aphrodisiacs: A Valentine Dinner for Two. The demonstration-style cooking class is February 6 at Williams-Sonoma Stonebriar Centre, 2601 Preston Road in Frisco, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Take notes, grab the ingredients and plan your own delicious version at home. Save the jogging for next week. Call 972-712-9455. --Danna Berger
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