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May 23, 1991|CHARLES PERRY

Bossie Not Threatened

Robert Bremel, a University of Wisconsin professor of dairy science, has been milking mice to test the effect of new genetic combinations on protein levels in milk. (Reason: Mice are quicker to mature and easier to handle than cows, though Bremel admitted to the Wall Street Journal that milking them requires skill, not to mention a very small vacuum milking machine.) The aim is to make designer milks specially suited to different cheeses, yogurts and ice creams. Not out of mouse milk itself, of course--it would take 6,000 mice to equal the daily production of a single Holstein.

We Must Have Asked for This

Under the slogan "Use Safe Snuff," a firm called Oregon Mint Snuff markets an imitation snuff made from mint, Vitamin E and a non-cavity-forming sweetener (phone number, (800) EAT-MINT); Frieling USA makes a programmable rolling pin to preset the thickness of dough; Ovaltine is said to be introducing an orange-flavored coffee.

Bread and Firewater

Vodka is an ancient Polish tradition, and the traditional Polish way of drinking vodka, the Wyborowa vodka firm informs us, is to sprinkle salt on black bread, sniff the salt, sip the vodka and then eat the bread. P.S.: Wyborowa is eager for everybody to know how to pronounce vee-bah-RO-vah, but they don't mention the traditional Polish way of pronouncing vodka (wodka): vootka.

The Boomer Challenge

Restaurants and Institutions Magazine checked into upscale restaurants' strategies for attracting the Baby Boom generation and found that 52% had added lower-priced items to their menus, 64% had added grilled dishes and 73% had upped the number of pastas. For whatever it might mean, 49% also said they'd added items that were easy to prepare.

Drink Your Ills Away

Carbonation is said to enhance the body's ability to absorb minerals; the USDA Human Nutrition Center in Beltsville, Md., reports that spices can improve the body's ability to use blood sugar; a Duke University study shows that spicy foods raise the metabolic rate and burn more calories. Let's hear it for ginger ale, the miracle drug!

Thai Youth Says: Chile Out

So you think all Thais like chiles? A reader named Steve Katz reports that when he was in Bangkok a few months ago, a top hit song was "Prik Khi Nu" (the name of a favorite Thai chile considered to look like rat droppings). It's the touching lament of a modern Bangkok city boy, the type who likes Big Macs:"Don't give me rat-dropping pepper, it's too hot."

Anniversary Corner

Facing the Big Five-O this year: Cheerios, introduced in 1941.

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