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Equally Comfortable in All Weathers

November 15, 1990|CHARLES PERRY

A dress stitched together from pieces of flank steak is on display at the Donald Young Gallery in Chicago. Montreal artist Jana Sterbak's creation is slack and sleeveless and looks rather like a daring frock circa 1919, except for a certain lumpy quality in the folds. It has been salted so that in the course of the exhibition it will turn into jerky. Thanks for sharing with us, Jana.

The Gastro-Computer

Prodigy seems to be the most food-oriented computer information service. In addition to microwave stuff, on-line gourmet food shopping and the Zagat Restaurant guide, it has a food and wine club bulletin board with tips from John Mariani on restaurants and Robert Parker on wine. Famous chefs also do one-month stints on Prodigy, contributing recipes and answering questions from subscribers. So far they have included Marion Cunningham, Deborah Madison, Paul Prudhomme, Michael Roberts and Ken Hom.

Teeny Tiny Vegetable News

Gene-splicers at a USDA lab in Salinas have developed a lettuce that gets no larger than a tennis ball (perfect for salad for one, they say); watch for it on the market by 1993. Meanwhile, a group of university scientists in Washington, Oregon and Idaho have perfected a miniature garbanzo bean. Well, it's not an absurd idea; the mini-garbanzo is fungus-resistant and the scientists see potential for export to India because it has a peppery flavor.

We Need Our Spice

In 1989, spice consumption in the United States reached an all-time high of 762.1 million pounds, or something over three pounds per man, woman and child. With this in mind let's congratulate Jerry Hunt of Shreveport, La., who won the 24th annual Terlingua International Chili Cook-Off Nov. 3, and Kevin and Ramona Larson, who were married at the cook-off just before the winner was announced.

Snap, Crackle, Kabloowie

Nabisco is reported to have obtained a patent for a cookie that erupts like a volcano in the microwave, spewing a flavored filling out the top and down the sides. Is this the first of the new performing foods?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

In Japan, vast amounts of wood are thrown away as disposable chopsticks. The Chopstix restaurant chain in Los Angeles is more eco-minded; it donates its used ones to Sheridan Garden Nursery, Inc., for recycling as garden stakes. (The alternative is for Chopstix to abandon the use of chopsticks altogether, but who'd want to eat at a restaurant called Forx?)

Nurse, My Bandage Is Melting

The Complete Chocoholic First Aid Kit is available from a company called the Chocolate Gallery: bite-sized chocolate bandages, "quick fix" chocolate tablets, chocolate "aspirins" and a chocolate "diet pill," which is rather large, we understand. Call (800) 426-4796 if this is your sort of emergency.

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