ALL THUMBS IN THE KITCHEN? HERE'S HELPING HAND: Feel like a helpless amateur in the kitchen? You're not alone, but there's support at the Novice to Novice Recipes page (http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/novicrcp.htm), which has plenty of cooking ideas. While all recipes are cinches, the real breezes are marked "quick and easy." The World's Best Fettuccine and Shrimp is one of those quickies, as is the Zucchini Bread. The site has mostly main courses with a few soups, salads, sauces and side dishes.
Worth sending for
COLONEL'S SECRETS: The folks at Kentucky Fried Chicken are offering a free brochure "The Colonel's Secret Recipes _ From Our Table To Yours." To receive your copy, send a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to Colonel Sanders Secret Recipes, KFC public Affairs, P.O. Box 34550, Louisville, KY 40232-4550. Recipes may also be downloaded from http://www.kfc.com.
FREE BOOKLET: "Wholesome Food for Every Body," a brochure published by the National Yogurt Association, presents family nutrition advice and summarizes medical research on yogurt. To obtain it, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the National Yogurt Association, c/o Golin-Harris International, 405 Lexington Ave., 16th Floor, New York NY 10017.
SUMMER SAFETY: "How To Avoid Foodborne Illness in the Home" offers tips for summer safety. The brochure from Lysol, was reviewed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is available from Lysol's toll-free "Healthy Home" hotline, (800) 995-9765.
WHEAT GERM: Cooking with wheat germ can be easy and delicious, say the folks at Kretschmer Wheat Germ. They're offering a free recipe booklet that contains six recipes from their 6th Annual Recipe Contest plus many more from previous contests. To receive a copy, send your name and complete address to Best of the Contest Recipes, P.O. Box 487, Dept. N, Chicago, IL 60690-0487. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.
TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: You can virtually visit Louisiana and actually shop there via http://www.CajunGrocer.com. Get information on Cajun or Creole foods; Cajun, swamp pop and zydeco music; original Louisiana cookbooks, recipes and cooking tips, then order from more than 400 top-brand products on the one-stop shopping site.
COMPUTER COOKBOOK: Add this Web site to your bookmarks: http://www.refdesk.com/food.html. You won't need a spacious study to house the vast amount of information in My Virtual Encyclopedia, a site connecting you to an eclectic array of food-related information. The A-to-Z list has something for everyone: The site includes links to appease chocoholics, assist the cooking-impaired and, like "Red, White and Brew," salute both the flag and a love of fine wine and beer.
TAKE PB&J EVERY WHERE: Smucker's has come out with a non-refrigerated snack containing peanut butter, grape or strawberry fruit spread and 8 crackers that can stave off hunger pains while you're on the road or anywhere. A free brochure is available with puzzles, mazes and games for the kids by calling (888) 550-9555.
Does your group or business have special food or wine events of interest to people who like to eat, shop or cook in the Tampa Bay area? Please send news of coming events at least two weeks in advance of the publication date to Food File, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.
Readers, if you have questions and comments about shopping, cooking and eating, write to the Taste Section at P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call the Foodline at(727) 892-2312. We will try to share them and our answers here in Food File.
Information from Times wires was used in this column.