Getting the facts about foodSince "the sooner the better...

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February 28, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Getting the facts about food

Since "the sooner the better" is generally considered the right time to start introducing children to nutrition information, Perdue Farms of Salisbury has launched a new program that aims to get elementary school kids thinking about the foods they eat.

The program, called "First Facts about Food," was introduced last fall to 40,000 teachers of kindergarten through third grade in Perdue's marketing area -- from Maine to Georgia, from the East Coast to Illinois. In the first phase, teachers received a poster illustrating food "families" with extensive teaching information on the back. There was also a survey to send parents that asks such questions as "When you shop, do you compare nutrition value of different brands?" (84 percent said yes) and "Do your children suggest foods for dinner?" (93 percent said yes). There is also an invitation to send for the second part of the program, which includes survey results (compiled after about 1,500 responses but still being tallied as they come in) and materials for putting on a classroom musical called "Let's All Go to a Variety Show," with "Uncle Dan, Supermarket Man" as master of ceremonies.

So far about 3,000 teachers have asked for the show materials.

March has been designated National Nutrition Month, so it's a good time for everyone to be thinking about what they eat. Perdue also produces some pamphlets on nutrition topics. There are seven in the series so far, from "What You Should Know About Fat" to "Nutrition Tips for Eating on the Run." The booklets are free to anyone who requests them. Send a postcard to Perdue Guide to Nutrition, P.O. Box 2417GN, Salisbury, Md. 21802.

Historic Oakland and the Columbia Arts Center will sponsor the second in a series of "art teas" from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday in the mansion's grand ballroom. Artist Mary Kay Sigarty will display one-of-a-kind bead and paper jewelry items. The tea has three courses, and there will be a question-and-answer session with the artist afterward. Historic Oakland is at 5430 Vantage Point Road in Columbia. The event costs $10 per person and reservations are required. For information, call (410) 730-4801.

Lemon-and-oat dessert is a winner

A visit to a lemon festival was the inspiration for California fTC lemon crunch dessert, a recipe that won the $10,000 grand prize for Carole MacKenzie of Santa Barbara, Calif., in Quaker Oats' "It's the Right Thing to Do" recipe contest.

Ms. MacKenzie runs a home-based word-processing business, but cooks for her husband and three children. The Quaker Oats contest was the first time she had ever entered a recipe contest. Here's the winning recipe:

California lemon crunch dessert

Serves 15.

FOR THE CRUST:

1 7-ounce package shredded coconut

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

FOR THE TOPPING:

1 8-ounce carton regular or light non-dairy whipped topping

2 8-ounce cartons lemon low-fat yogurt

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

lemon twists (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place coconut in single layer in 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until coconut is lightly toasted, stirring after 12 minutes. Cool completely; set aside. For crust, in large bowl, beat margarine and brown sugar until creamy. Add oats, flour, nuts, cinnamon and baking soda; beat well. Reserve 1 cup of the toasted coconut for topping; stir remaining toasted coconut into oat mixture. Press dough onto bottom of 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely.

For topping, combine whipped topping, yogurt and lemon peel. Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust. Sprinkle with reserved coconut, pressing lightly. Cover; chill. Cut into squares; garnish with lemon twists, if desired. Store covered in refrigerator.

Note: Although the use of margarine and non-dairy topping means this recipe would have no cholesterol, it does have 360 calories per serving, with 24 grams of fat (nearly two-thirds of calories from fat).

Mark Henry, executive chef at the Milton Inn in Sparks, will be cooking a special meal this Saturday, when Our Daily Bread holds its first benefit dinner.

Smoked salmon with creamed horseradish, baby lamb chops with rosemary garlic sauce, pan-fried lobster and corn cake with Pommery mustard sauce and chives, and grilled veal chop with bourbon-mustard glaze are among items on the menu for the event, which will benefit Our Daily Bread, Maryland's largest soup kitchen. The benefit will begin with champagne and hors d'oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. in the dining room at Our Daily Bread, 411 Cathedral St.

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