Food Briefs: May 7, 2014

Posted Online: May 06, 2014, 11:02 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
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 Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.

(More History)