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An "Unwrapped,' witty look at food

Viewers won't be better people for knowing that bubble gum was invented by accident in 1928, and it's doubtful they really want to know that bubble gum's base ingredient is rubber, the same stuff used for car tires. But that doesn't make this week's Unwrapped, on the Food Network, airing Monday at 10:30 p.m., any less entertaining.

The program, which premiered last week with its 30-minute show covering all sorts of odd factoids about cereal, can be fascinating.

Program host Marc Summers is an old hand at this lighter-than-air style of program, having been a former host and producer of Nickelodeon's Double Dare and What Would You Do? He segues easily between bubble gum factory, bubble gum machine inventor and bubble blowing champion. Last week, he gave parents a nostalgia rush with stories of Quisp cereal, Tony the Tiger and the first commercials for Lucky Charms, which heralded its unusual-at-that-time marshmallow bits.

Kids probably find Unwrapped interesting for the same reason they find cooking shows entertaining. They all eat, and the first construction project they remember watching is Mom making a meatloaf. Kids know about cereal, bubble gum and the other foods being examined in upcoming episodes _ everything from peanut butter to lollipops to hot dogs.

Familiarity breeds interest, and with as many nostalgia nuggets as Unwrapped loads its episodes, even parents can maintain a level of interest along with their "I remember that" stories.

Unwrapped presents perfect summer entertainment _ low in calories, no chance of brain burn and fun for the whole family.

_ Times wires