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December 20, 1990|CHARLES PERRY

Why There's No Blue Food

The color of a food affects how sweet we think it tastes, reports the University of Massachusetts Food Science Department. Red things seem sweetest, then bright yellow and green foods.

We Have Tasted the Future and It's Suspiciously Like the Past

"The excesses of the 1980s--fast money, fast talk, extravagant living and overindulgence--have left us exhausted. In the '90s people are returning to quieter lives, classic styles and understated elegance." So writes Robyn M. Feller in "The Complete Bartender." Then in her chapter on drinks of the '90s, she lists classic, understated cocktails such as the Slimeball (hot lime Jell-O with Midori and vodka), the Brain Tumor (Bailey's sprinkled with strawberry liqueur "to give the appearance of a diseased brain"), the Tiny Bowl (a shot of vodka colored blue with curacao--we don't want to think about what this is supposed to look like) and the Oil Slick (milk, white creme de cacao and vodka with dark rum floating on top).

See You at the Sauce Tasting

San-J Soy Sauce would like people to get in the habit of tasting soy sauce the way they taste wine. Their instructions: 1) Put 10 milliliters of soy sauce in a glass, hold up to the light to inspect color, swirl to assess viscosity. 2) Inhale to evaluate bouquet. 3) Add 90 milliliters tepid water to glass and sip to assess body, balance, finish and all-over flavor. 4) Have a spittoon handy.

Imitation Rulings

Land O' Lakes is trying to get legal permission for dairy processors to make something called "light butter" with 52% rather than 80% butterfat. Don't bet on their chances; the FDA just told the makers of "light mayonnaise" they can't use that name because their product contains less than 65% fat and not enough egg yolk. (Of course, the FDA doesn't face a problem of trying to get people to buy something with the word "imitation" in the name.)

Micro-Trends

Planned or being market-tested: Pizza For Kids--microwaveable pizzas shaped like bears, dogs and cats--and a microwaveable Milky Way Bar milkshake. Microwaveable?

Don't Drink It Until the Cap's Had Time to Breathe

The SmartCap is a new bottle closure that doesn't just keep oxygen from entering the container but actually absorbs oxygen.

Cajun Coke

The McIlhenny Co., which makes Tabasco sauce, recommends spiking cola drinks with its product.

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