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Basic Training

October 28, 1998|CHARLES PERRY

How basic is too basic? Last week saw a feisty exchange of opinions from two of Britain's leading television chefs.

First, Delia Smith--the Queen Mum of British cookery for more than 20 years--demonstrated for her viewers how to boil an egg.

That prompted her bad boy rival, spiky-haired Gary Rhodes, to slam her for being "offensive and insulting to people's intelligence." This isn't the first time Smith has been criticized for making things too easy on her viewers; the show in which she taught the making of toast drew comments too. Rhodes' remarks, however, were particularly pointed.

"I don't need to be shown what boiling water looks like and I think that the rest of the population don't need to be shown it either," he told Reuters news service. "I really don't believe that the majority of people cannot boil an egg."

On the other hand, in a recent poll of Britons who said they cook, 36% listed making sandwiches as their main cookery skills, and 31% cited toast.

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So, how basic is too basic? What are the things you need to know? Send your comments to Basics, Food Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90012 or e-mail food@latimes.com. Another option: Join the discussion on The Times Food Bulletin Board. Point your web browser to latimes.com, click and hold on the "News" menu and pull down to Food.

Also, we're still collecting responses from last week's question asking readers to tell us which TV cooking show they like the best. We'll print a selection of responses as soon as space allows.

Coach, I Blew It

Eleven kids were up for the final blow in the Bubble Yum World Championship Bubble Blowing Contest, held Oct. 18 on the field at Yankee Stadium just before Game 2 of the World Series. Our money was on Adam Verkin of Lakeside, Calif. (at 9, the youngest finalist), who'd had the top personal best bubble going in (8 3/4 inches), but the $10,000 savings bond prize went to 11-year-old Jason Roberts of Cleveland.

Alas, none of the young contestants broke the Guinness World Record for the largest bubble, 23 inches. What with the weather, the unfamiliar playing field and bad mojo, the winning bubble was under seven inches.

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