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May 30, 1991|CHARLES PERRY

New Foodology From Down Under

Australian specialist in barbecue cookery Margaret McDonagh calls herself a barbiologist (as in, throw another shrimp on the). At BBQs Galore store she gives demonstrations on how to flambe food on the barbie, how to bake onion bread on the barbie and even how to barbecue a fruitcake.

Slot Machine Dining

The newest generation of vending machines can defrost and quick-cook pizzas (the Presto Pizzeria), French fries (a machine forthcoming from Ore-Ida) or chicken (the Cafe Quick, which can also handle those pizzas and fries too). The result is cheaper and faster than a lot of fast food, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the idea isn't exactly flying. So far, based on their experience of soft-drink machines that don't always deliver, people hesitate to put $2 to $3 into a slot.

Rockies: 1

Last year, 10% more West Coast restaurants folded than in 1989. If you think that's bad, the failure rate was up 49% in the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area and 147% in New England. The safest area to own a restaurant turns out to be the Rocky Mountain states.

No Lawyer Ever Went Broke for Lack of a Sense of Humor

The studio that produced the film "Dances With Wolves" is suing Ivar's, a Seattle seafood restaurant. Ivar's offense: running a TV ad that shows an actor dancing in a field with a giant clam while a wise onlooker says (in Swedish, with English subtitles): "He is a newcomer. He has not yet learned our ways. But soon, he will eat at Ivar's."

A Caviar Quandary

Alas, just as we're getting on better terms with the Soviet Union, the one indubitable benefit--Russian caviar--is declining in both quality and quantity, due to heavy pollution on the Soviet side of the Caspian Sea and the crushing of the sturgeon in trawlers' nets. Meanwhile, the crafty Iranians are upgrading the quality of their caviar, either because that's all they have to trade on the international market or just to spite us.

It's a Burger World After All

Wendy's is going to start a chain of burger palaces in Poland; Ed Debevic's, already established in Japan, is about to tackle New York.

OJ: The Juice That Knows No Borders

Big rage in Japan: orange juice. The Kikkoman soy sauce company has obtained the Far East rights to Del Monte's OJ.

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