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A Little Strummer

August 10, 1995

You can slice garlic perfectly well with a knife (except when the slices don't quite separate), but the Acea Garlic Slicer does the job neater and quicker. It's really a miniature mandoline ; you put the clove in a receptacle and suavely slide it back and forth across the blade as if strumming a mandolin. Slip the receptacle onto the other side and there's a blade that shreds garlic finer than most garlic presses can crush it. Available at Williams-Sonoma stores, Bristol Kitchens (formerly Cook 'n' Things) in South Pasadena and Cook 'n' Stuff in Torrance.

Lest Any Bag Fall

The BoxBoy Bag Stabilizer may sound simple-minded: a corrugated plastic gizmo that unfolds into four squares so that you can stand your grocery bags up on the seat of your car. After all, generations have stood their bags on the car floor or begged cardboard boxes from their markets or simply driven with one hand while holding everything up with the other.

The idea was developed by Avi Fattal, who took another simple-minded idea, the cardboard sun shade you unfold on your dashboard, and made a mint on it. The BoxBoy is sold through specialty catalogues like Brookstone, and in Southern California it's available at FedCo stores. You can also buy a set of two from the company by sending a $15 check to BoxBoy Ltd., 11601 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Floor, LA 90025; to order by credit card, call (800) 525-2510.

Take Your Pik

Not many of us are up to eating raw garlic by the clove, but pickled garlic is something else again. Or rather, Pikled Garlik (the two Ks refer to the founder of the company, Ken Knapp). This line of pickled garlic cloves comes in seven flavors, from plain ("Naturelle"), through bread-and-butter pickle spices ("Mild"), smoke flavor, lemon dill, red chile and jalapen~o to habanero flavor.

It's milder than raw garlic, but the flavor is closer to raw than to cooked, and the cloves have a pleasant crunchiness. They make good snacks and can be added to salads, omelets and other dishes to produce curious effects. Available at some markets, including Pavilions and Bristol Farms, or directly by dialing (800) 775-9788.

Fiesta Time

Fiesta dishware, which potently symbolizes the casual California of the '50s, has been revived in recent years. Table Manners in Santa Monica carries the whole line, including the relatively hard-to-find pie plates. They're $15--or rather $13.50, because all Fiesta ware at the store is 10% off during August. Call (310) 576-2696.

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