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The Habanero of the Harbor

July 01, 1993|CHARLES PERRY

Chile peppers are irritating but not poisonous. That's why an industrial designer named Ken Fischer thought up Barnacle Ban, a jalapeno -based paint for keeping barnacles off boat hulls without polluting harbors the way other barnacle repellents do. McCormick & Co. is now trying out pepper paint formulas at the Naval Shipyard in Charleston, S.C., but (pay attention, Ken) using the much hotter habanero pepper.

Vampires Beware

Sure, fish fly cheaper than you or I do--they travel as freight. But fish has to be very carefully wrapped for air shipment, because leaking fish blood develops acids that can corrode metal.

Cool Victorian Pleasures

"Victorian Frozen Dainties" is a small, antique-designed gift book of old-fashioned recipes such as violet sherbet, caramel mousse and burnt almond and cucumber ice cream, compiled by former Vogue editor Allison Kyle. It's $12 from Victorian Cupboard (which also has a catalogue of preserves, fruits in liqueur, flower vinegars and other edible Victoriana), Box 1852, Old Chelsea Station, N.Y. 10133, or (800) 653-8033.

Or Eat 30 Pieces of Cheesecake a Day

A Dow Chemical food additive named HPMC (hydroxypropylmethylcellulose), derived from wood cellulose and used in thickening cheesecakes, puddings and some other commercially processed foods, may lower cholesterol, scientists at the University of Michigan told the Wall Street Journal. They say it has minimal side effects and lacks the texture problems of certain other powdered cholesterol-reducing drugs. However, you have to take it in pill form--the cholesterol-lowering effect requires about 30 times as much HPMC a day as you'd get from just eating the processed food.

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