A cookbook is being recalled because of a single reference to a potentially poisonous ingredient.
The book is "Great Cakes" by Carole Walter, published last November by Ballantine Books. The problem occurs on page 499 in a section on tips for decorating cakes called "Finishing Touches." Lily-of-the-valley, a poisonous flower, was included with a list of edible flowers that could be used as decoration.
Eating lily-of-the-valley could cause such symptoms as upset stomach, irregular heartbeat and other circulatory problems, according to a statement by the publisher.
"The severity would depend on several factors including body weight, amount ingested and individual sensitivities. However, no amount is considered safe to eat or to use in decorating cakes," the publisher's statement said.
All unsold copies of the book have been recalled from retail bookstores and book wholesalers. Anyone who has bought the book and wishes to return the book for a full refund can call (800) 726-0600.
Those who wish to keep the book -- which otherwise has received high praise from food authorities Jacques Pepin, Nathalie Dupree and Albert Kumin -- are asked to cross out the single reference to lily-of-the-valley in the last paragraph on page 499.
Although the publisher has received no reports of anyone getting sick due to eating the flowers, the flowers have not been widely available since the book was published.
In home gardens in this area, lily-of-the-valley bloom in late April and early May. And they are not often sold out-of-season at florists. "We haven'thad them all winter. They're not easy to get," says Susan Riehl, one of the owners of Roland Park Florist. (In general, flowers from florists are never recommended for eating because of potential use of pesticides in growing them.)
Carol Fass, director of publicity for Ballantine, explained the publisher is not sure at this point whether or not it will reprint the book. "If we do go back to print we will make the correction," she said.
Anne Arundel county residents can now get food and health tipphone. The Anne Arundel County Department of Health Nutrition Services Program has started a telephone service that will provide information on weight control; healthful foods; dietary guidelines for salt, sugar, fat and alcohol; plus eligibility and application information on the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) supplemental food program.
The telephone number, (410) 222-7367, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers will hear a recording which directs the caller to make message selections by touching keys on their touch tone phone.
This line will be in service through March 31.
Griffo Grill, a company that makes a whole series of high qualitgrill toppers and racks, has just come out with three new BBQ Woks that let you cook stir-fried vegetables and meats over the ** grill.
There are three styles, a 12-inch round wok with a recommended retail price of $23.95; a 14-inch round wok with a price of $39.95; and a 13-by-13 inch square wok with a suggested price of $12.95.
All three can be used on charcoal, gas or electric grills. As the food is cooked it can be moved up onto the slanted sides just as with a traditional wok.
The BBQ Wok is so new it's still being shipped to stores. The woks, he says, are being shipped to Williams-Sonoma stores and will be available through the Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel catalogs.
The Tidbits column welcomes interesting nuggets of food news -- new products, food-related news events, local cookbooks, great mail order finds, openings and closings of restaurants and food shops. Send press releases to Tidbits, Attn: Karol V. Menzie, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.