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Bites : CyberJulia

May 30, 1996|CHARLES PERRY

Julia Child invites the online community to ask her questions next Wednesday. She'll be joined by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, who recently received a James Beard Award for their book "Becoming a Chef," on the electronic magazine eGG (keyword: eGG), at 7 p.m. June 5. The eGG can be accessed on America Online (keyword: eGG) or the Web at http://www.2way.com/food.

Spell It Out

In 1992, Campbell Soup Co. started putting a photo of a spoonful of Campbell's Vegetable Soup on the can label. Two years later, Campbell's figured that the photo adequately showed that the soup contained letter-shaped pasta, so the company stopped including the yellow decal reading "The Alphabet Soup" on the label.

But it turned out that people were used to looking for that decal, as they had done since it first appeared (in 1968), and Campbell's got thousands of calls asking whether the alphabet soup had been discontinued. Things didn't quite reach the scale of the New Coke versus Classic Coke uproar, but the decal is back, with Campbell's apologies.

The Heat Is Off

San Antonio-based Pace Foods, whose picante sauce ads stress that it's not a New York City outfit ("New York City?"), boasts that it has developed a variety of jalapen~o as mild as a bell pepper. Apparently there has been intense competition among picante sauce makers to develop the first cool jalapen~o. Pace has a patent pending on the new pepper and is even patenting its DNA profile.

Although it's scheduled for Pace's sauces, rather than for our supermarket produce sections, Pace kindly sent the Food Section some samples. The peppers are about twice the size of a regular jalapen~o. When roasted, they develop a jalapen~o flavor, though our tasters found it a little faint, possibly because they were unfamiliar the idea of tasting jalapen~o without any bite. When raw, any jalapen~o aroma is fairly well masked by the "bell-pepper" aroma common to all raw peppers.

The sauces themselves are definitely not traditional. The Extra Mild Thick & Chunky Salsa, though nicely crunchy, has a sweet flavor more like a pasta sauce than a salsa. The Extra Mild Picante Sauce reminds us of V-8 Juice.

Hmm. Just think about that phrase: Extra Mild Picante. Do you suppose . . . Pace Foods is actually from New York City?

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