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dish

By JANET K. KEELER

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 7, 2001


deconstructing

explanations from the inside out

nerds rope

Nerds Rope is the latest confection in the Wonka family of candy. For 50 cents, your kids (or the kid in you) can get a footlong strawberry-flavored gummy rope covered with Nerds candies. The sweetness of the gummy rope and the tartness of the crunchy Nerds are enough to send your taste buds into orbit. The rubbery rope will also double as a sibling tormenter when cracked like a whip, as we know it will be.

You won't be surprised to know that there is little, if any, nutritional value in a Nerds Rope, but there is plenty of dye, in various shades of blue, red and yellow. For those watching their fat and sodium intake, Nerds Ropes have neither, but the sugar, dextrose, corn syrup and confectioner's glaze give the product enough jolt for carb watchers to beware. There's also a little dose of carnauba wax, which makes the Nerds shiny. The wax, made from palm trees, can also be found in some inks and in polishing agents for leather and pills.

this web site cooks

http://www.mealtimeideas.com

Need to know how to set up a coffee bar for a party? How about help in planning a family reunion? A wedding shower? An open house? This Pillsbury-produced site has great suggestions and, of course, plenty of recipes using company products.

The beauty of mealtimeideas.com is in its simple recipes, which are usually accompanied by photos. The Maple-Mustard Country-Style Ribs, a slow cooker recipe, has only four ingredients, and one of them is pancake syrup! There are even suggestions on how to dress up prepared foods such as deli salads (add chopped fresh herbs) and Alfredo sauce in a jar (add cooked broccoli or asparagus).

cooking class

Spice company McCormick suggests toasting spices to bring out their flavors before adding them to recipes. Spices can be toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until they release their aromas -- about 30 seconds -- or they can be sauteed in a small amount of oil for 20 or 30 seconds.

constant comment

"My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with." -- Oprah Winfrey

power munch

Energy bars have gone mainstream. Nearly 10 percent of U.S. households purchased these power snacks in 2000, up from 5.9 percent in 1997, American Demographics magazine reports. Who's eating them? Energy bars are most popular among single men, upper-income professionals and households in large cities.

haiku challenge

Unleash the muse within and enter Pacific Echo Cellars' poetry contest, waxing poetic with the word "echo" in traditional Japanese haiku. The winemaker will give the winner a five-day trip for two to Mendocino County in northern California. Submit entries to Pacific Echo Cellars, Sales and Marketing Office, 717 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10022, or enter online at http://www.echo-haiku.com.

Color it fun

Whipped cream in a can just got a little more festive thanks to new Color Tips, which fit on the nozzle of the can and add red, blue or green dye to the cream as it is piped out. The folks at Cake Mate, which makes other cake decorating supplies, call it magic. We wouldn't go that far, but the tips are easy to use and the red coloring looks good on strawberry shortcake. One tip is good for about 15 squirts. Price is $1.79 for two tips.

granite, granita

Several alert readers pointed out that we incorrectly called granita an icy French concoction in an item in Dish on Feb. 21. They do indeed serve granita in France but call it granite. It's in Italy where the granular ice treat is called granita.

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