Food Briefs: May 7, 2014

Posted Online: May 06, 2014, 11:02 am
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Mr. Tidbit: Bowled Under
Kraft's single-serve Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese Dinners aren't new, but Mr. Tidbit (having just bought one) has noticed a significant fact: The deep microwave bowl in which they are packaged, which the shopper sees inside the cardboard sleeve, is much larger than the serving they produce.
To prepare one of these, you add water to the macaroni-seasoning mixture — up to the "fill" line fairly low on the bowl — stir, microwave and then stir in the cheese sauce and sprinkle with the bacon bits. Surprise: The finished product, although tasty, doesn't occupy significantly more of the bowl than that initial "fill" line.
To be fair, the package front does mention that it "makes about 1 1/4 cups" (so those who can accurately picture 1 1/4 cups really shouldn't be surprised), and the bowl must be large enough to contain the mixture while it's bubbling in the microwave. But Mr. Tidbit measured the capacity of the bowl to be almost 3 cups — more than double the amount of food it ultimately contains. To what Mr. Tidbit likes to think of as his mind, the word "deceptive" springs.
-- Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Can you eat rhubarb after a freeze?
Spring may be here, but as any hardy Midwesterner knows, that doesn't necessarily mean we've seen the last of Jack Frost. Although we can tough out a chilly morning here and there, for the tender plants popping up in the garden, it may be a different story.
This is true for one of the earliest gifts of the garden, rhubarb. A hard freeze can leave the leaves wilted and limp — but since you don't eat the leaves (they are poisonous), is that a problem?
Yes, according to a news release from the University of Illinois Extension. "After a hard frost oxalic acid may move from the leaves into the leafstalk. When consumed the oxalic acid can crystallize in the kidneys and cause permanent damage to the organs," writes horticulture educator Martha Smith in the release.
In other words, a hard frost can push the poison from the leaves down into the stalks. For this reason, you should avoid eating rhubarb that has experienced a hard freeze. Instead, remove and discard any stalks that have been exposed to the frost and allow the plant to rebound on its own. Any re-growth will be safe to eat.

Cookies that scream ice cream
If you're a fan of cookies-and-cream ice cream, then the latest offering from Chips Ahoy! might pique your interest. Dubbed Ice Cream Creations by the Nabisco mix masters, it's a line of cookies based on popular ice creams, including Mint Chocolate Chip, Mocha Chunk and our two favorites: Root Beer Float and Dulce de Leche. Two root beer cookies weigh in at 140 calories, two dulce de leches, 160. If you sandwich the cookies with ice cream, that's another story. Suggested retail price for a 9.5-ounce package: $3.79. For more, visit At supermarkets nationwide.
-- Chicago Tribune


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.

(More History)