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BITES : Mysteries of the Night

March 16, 1995|CHARLES PERRY

You never know what you'll find in 800-land. The beverage house of Seagram's, for instance, has a 24-hour emergency number: (800) 950-0402. It's technically known as the Seagram's Non-Business Hours Line.

What kind of emergency could you have that would make you call a liquor company at night? Your '83 Sterling Cabernet hasn't aged the way you expected?

"Well," said an operator, "people can call about tampering, dissatisfaction, bodily injury."

(Bodily injury does not include bumping into the coffee table because you've had one too many.)

"Actually," says Alice Bower of Seagram's, "we don't get that many calls. Most of them are about coupons and refunds, things like that."

By the way, if you're put on hold, they don't fob you off with ordinary background music. It's more likely to be something like a Beethoven piano sonata.

A Twinkie Birthday

Twinkies are 65 years old this year (no retirement jokes, please), and the Hostess company is celebrating with a contest. The maker of the best three-minute video featuring Twinkies will win $6,500. "Videos should be creative, original, tasteful and above all show why Twinkies have been one of America's favorite snack cakes for 65 years," the press release says.

Send entries by May 31 to: Twinkies Video Contest, Box 5325, Norwalk, Conn. 06853-5325.

That's All It Says? "Leafhoppers to Taste"?

One has such hopes for the Internet, but little flaws show up here and there. We're not going to call them bugs, but there's one in Iowa State University's Tasty Insect Recipes (at http://www.public.iastate.edu/--go to the DIRECTORY of personal and locker home pages, then ENTOMOLOGY, then INSECTS AS FOOD).

To wit: In the recipe entitled bug blox, made from water, unflavored gelatin and dry-roasted leafhoppers, we find no quantity given for the insects! No problem with the other recipes, banana army worm bread, rootworm beetle dip and chocolate chirpie chip cookies (made with crickets).

News from Margaritaville

A restaurant in Santa Fe, N.M., called Maria's has a big rep for its margaritas. Hence "Maria's Real Margarita Book: Drinks So Good They Had to Build the Santa Fe Trail," by Al Lucero, with foreword by Robert Redford (Ten Speed Press: $14.95). It divulges Maria's secret recipe--in fact, it divulges it over and over and over, so you'll never forget. In short, it gives 37 recipes for margaritas, all exactly the same except for the particular tequila called for (well, some recipes use Cointreau or Grand Marnier instead of triple sec).

To be fair, it also presents nine other (mostly familiar) tequila cocktails, some recipes in the taco-bean dip-guacamole category to go along with your margarita, and an inconclusive investigation into the origin of the cocktail--at least 16 theories, a quarter of them involving the old Tail o' the Cock restaurant in Los Angeles.

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