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May 09, 1991|CHARLES PERRY

Follow Label, Avoid Prolonged Pouring

Following requests by the Indiana Food Processors Assn., the USDA is considering new label laws that would rank ketchup according to how thick it is. On the USDA viscosity scale of 3 to 1, 1 would be thickest.

Go-Go-Go for the G-G-Gusto

Gusto, reports the British magazine Taste, is a sparkling herbal drink claimed to enhance creativity and concentration. Wholearth Foods in London, which created it, promises "an instant lift" lasting several hours due to Gusto's contents: Siberian and Korean ginseng and the Amazonian stimulant guarana. Taste tasted Gusto and characterized the flavor as a cross between cola and cough syrup.

Really Rich Chocolate

When we were kids we loved those chocolate "pirate doubloons," though they were only wrapped in gold-colored foil. If you want the real thing, you can get chocolates topped with thin sheets of actual (but edible) 24-karat gold leaf from Hearts & Flowers Candy, P.O. Box 133, Oyster Bay, N.Y. 11771. They're $19.95 for a box of 10.

Tiny Hubba Bubbles

Hubba Bubba Original Bubble Gum Soda is being aimed at the bubblegum market, ages 5-15, in this country. However, it's already been marketed in Europe, where it found an adult clientele. Specifically: in England, as a vodka mixer.

Hoki-Poki: Now You See It

A stranger to our tables is the big-eyed New Zealand hoki fish, but probably not for long--New Zealand commercial fishermen are catching around 200,000 tons a year and burn to introduce Americans to the hoki, which is said to have a mild flavor, a moist and flaky texture and a bright white color. Hoki is new because it's a deepwater species, trawled at depths from 600 feet to 2,500 feet below the surface, which makes us wonder how it ever managed to get a hoki Polynesian-sounding name. Until we've been properly introduced, we're going to keep on calling it Macuronus novaezelandiae.

Fig Newton Crosses Century Mark

Tuesday, in case you weren't watching, was the 100th anniversary of the fig newton. The cookie, currently the third most popular in the country, was made possible by the 1891 invention of a funnel extruder that could turn out a "rope" of cookie with fig filling. Since the fig newton was named after Newton, Mass., that town held a big anniversary party with entertainment by the Newton all-city elementary school band and, of course, country rocker Juice Newton. Apple and berry newtons were not served.

Hempfu Fighting

Hempseed butter is a traditional delicacy in the Baltic countries, but you aren't liable to see it in this country because the hemp plant is also the marijuana plant. However, reports the Wall Street Journal, the hemp plant has friends who are looking for new economic uses for it in order to encourage legalization of marijuana, and a couple of the proposed uses are foods. No talk of hempseed butter, but they are trumpeting hempfu, an imitation tofu.

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