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BITES : Shorty Hits the Big Time

June 15, 1995|CHARLES PERRY

By now you are quite likely to have seen the 5-year-old chef, Pittsburgh, Penn.-born Justin Miller. There was the appearance on Letterman (not much cooking; Dave mostly flung vanilla wafers at the audience), then Donahue, then ABC's Mike and Maty. CNN covered his arrival in L.A. Monday to meet his proclaimed idols, Wolfgang Puck and Mickey Mouse.

He's having no trouble getting exposure as he mugs to beat the band and cooks his stroganoff, fried zucchini and mini-cheesecakes. Possibly it helps that, in addition to having a name that somehow suggests a couple of chefs from the early California Cuisine period, the rubber-faced sprout is repped by the same press agent as David Copperfield.

Just As Good As Old

Many people have discovered the pleasures of collecting old cookbooks: the recipes themelves, the glimpse into the daily life of a bygone time, perhaps a sense of continuity with one's own roots. In fact, so many people collect cookbooks these days that certain old titles have gotten incredibly scarce, i.e. expensive.

The solution is facsimile reprints; new editions that are like the originals in every way except that they aren't antiques. So they aren't antiques--they're in far better physical condition than the original editions, and some include indexes, glossaries and commentaries that make them even more useful and interesting.

A company named Food Heritage Press sells a lot of them. Many are Southern, such as "The Virginia Housewife," "Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking" and "What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking" (the first African-American cookbook), but there are quite a few others, including a 1908 Cincinnati cookbook and an 1871 Jewish cookbook. For a copy of the facsimile reprint catalog, send $1 to P.O. 163, Ipswich Mass. 01938-0163.

We Don't Know Anything About Art But We Know What We Crave

This guy is looking at a solid wall of chocolate, exhibited as an artwork at a group show entitled (natch) "Chocolate!" at (natch) the Swiss Institute in New York April 6-May 20. The show may be over, but if you're interested in the catalogue, which includes a study of the history of chocolate marketing, call (212) 925-2035 for information. (Yes, that is a Chocolate Moose hanging on the wall, the work of an artist named Eric Magnuson.)

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