Compiled by JANET K. KEELER from staff and wire reports
explanations from the inside out
It's funny, sometimes, how things work out. Such is the case with the cracker named for the Rev. Sylvester Graham, a controversial 19th century vegetarian and advocate of clean living. He would have been horrified if he'd suspected that his namesake cracker would someday be the basis of a legendary treat of melted chocolate and marshmallows. He was not a s'mores kind of guy.
The cracker evolved from a bread Graham served in hotels he owned, where the meals were strictly controlled "in line with the belief of the temperance movement that food should not contain any stimulants or seasonings that might enflame the blood," John Mariani writes in the Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink (Lebhar-Friedman, $29.95). Today, the graham cracker is made with whole-wheat flour and sweetened with honey. Some might even say they are addictive alongside a glass of cold milk.
Graham was a staunch vegetarian who believed Americans were weakened by eating animal products along with drinking alcohol, tea and coffee. He warned against sex, which he said made people sick.
Funny thing. Sex also causes the graham cracker's biggest fan base: children.
Submerge bunches of leafy greens upside-down in a large bowl or clean sink full of water. Lift them out of the water, leaving the sand at the bottom. Drain on a cutting board and dry in a salad spinner.
this web site cooks
Once you master chopsticks, they become essential. Oriental cuisine tastes funny when you eat with a fork. Sticks in hand, eating becomes an art form.
The next thing you know, you've got a collection: Chinese, Japanese, Thai. Rosewood sticks with black stripes. Blue designs on natural lacquered bamboo. Black lacquered sticks with Mount Fuji tips. Fu Manchu red. Gold spirals on black matte. Stainless steel, for the hopelessly high tech. You'll find everything you need right here. Chopstick history, how-tos and etiquette. And a store.
pie in the sky
Crisco is in search of the best original pie recipe.
To enter the Crisco All-American Pie recipe contest, submit your recipe by Dec. 15 at www.crisco.com. Five grand-prize winners will compete for the national title and $5,000 April 15 to 18 in Celebration, near Orlando.
In addition to the Crisco Web site, information also is available at www.piecouncil.org.
If you're drawn to old kitchen gadgets, pots and appliances, check out Linda Campbell Franklin's 300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles (Krause Publications, $29.95). The Baltimore collector and writer has compiled a list of more than 7,000 kitchen accessories, ranging from apple corers to pie safes. Along with descriptions, there are also estimates on the value of the items. Historical notes, photographs and recipes are included. Available at major bookstores or online at www.amazon.com.
subway, eat fruit
Children ordering kids meals at Subway will now receive a package that includes a deli-style sandwich, 100 percent Minute Maid fruit juice and a fruit roll-up. The package has been designed to continue the restaurant's commitment to improving Americans' eating habits. The campaign also includes visits to schools by Jared Fogle, the company spokesman who lost 235 pounds incorporating Subway food into his diet.
Once-a-week shopping doesn't have to mean frozen foods by week's end. Buy a mix of both perishable and hardy fruits and vegetables. Serve delicate greens or berries earlier in the week and good keepers, like peppers, squash, avocados and citrus, at week's end.
Price is not always a reflection of quality. Don't assume that the most expensive is the best. Try new products to find what tastes best to you.