Garlic power Bram Stoker's characters tried using...

THE DISH

July 03, 2002|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Garlic power

Bram Stoker's characters tried using garlic to ward off Dracula, without much success. But scientists at the National Cancer Institute say garlic, onions, chives and leeks are effective fighting disease.

Vegetables from the onion family contain a phytochemical called allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and increase the body's ability to fight colds and certain kinds of cancers, researchers say.

Even a little onion on a sandwich or garlic in a recipe can be beneficial, research shows. So eat up and pack a box of breath mints.

Takeout tips

Don't take a chance with your takeout. A survey by the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods Foundation found that 90 percent of restaurant patrons take doggie bags home occasionally, but many don't know the proper way to handle those leftovers.

Although food can spoil long before it looks, smells or tastes bad, nearly half of the respondents admitted to relying on one or more of their senses to tell whether food is safe to eat.

The experts say leftovers should be stored at below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and reheated to 165 degrees. Also, carryout bags and cartons should be labeled with the date and eaten within three to four days.

Sharing his secrets

If you'd like to learn how to make your own junk food, the iVillage Web site can tell you how. Todd Wilbur, author of Top Secret Recipes (Plume, 1993, $14), shares some of his most-requested recipes on the site, including how to make Girl Scout Thin Mints, McDonald's Big Macs, Borden's Cracker Jack and even Hostess Twinkies.

Wilbur says candidly that he doesn't know the exact recipes for these famous foods; the producers keep the recipes secret and often use specially made ingredients not available to the consumer. But Wilbur has come up with close approximations of these foods through trial and error.

You can find the recipes by logging on to www.ivillage.com/food and clicking on "Top Secret Recipes," or you can find Wilbur's book in bookstores and at online booksellers.

With this cool rules

Picnicking in hot weather has its drawbacks - wilted lettuce, melted ice and even the risk of spoiled food. Pampered Chef's collection of Chillzanne platters and bowls helps protect food on sultry summer days.

The dishes contain a gel that keeps the pieces cold for hours. Just freeze the bowls or platters before using. Prices start at $10.50 for a mini-bowl. To find a Pampered Chef "kitchen consultant," call 800-266-5562 or visit www.pamperedchef.com.

Events:

Author Linda Eckardt shows you how to prepare seafood 7 p.m. July 12,and how to cook pasta 7 p.m. July 13 at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. Cost of each event is $50. The store celebrates Bastille Day 6:45 p.m.,July 14, with French cheese, wine, sauces and pastry. Cost is $45. Call 410-539-8600.

Petit Louis Bistro, 4800 Roland Ave., celebrates France's national holiday July 14 with a lunch of picnic favorites from noon to 3 p.m. and dinner with a four-course prix-fixe menu from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Lunch for two is $45. Dinner is $34 each. Call 410-366-9393 for reservations.

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