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, 30, the 273rd day of 2014. There are 92 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: The ARGUS Boys are very anxious to attend the great Democratic mass meeting tomorrow and we shall therefore, print no paper on the day.
1889 — 125 years ago: H.J. Lowery resigned from his position as manager at the Harper House.
1914 — 100 years ago: Curtis & Simonson was the name of a new legal partnership formed by two younger members of the Rock Island County Bar. Hugh Cyrtis and Devore Simonson..
1939 — 75 years ago: Harry Grell, deputy county clerk was named county recorder to fill the vacancy caused by a resignation.
1964 — 50 years ago: A new world wide reader insurance service program offering around the clock accident protection for Argus subscribers and their families is announced today.
1989 — 25 years ago: Tomato plant and other sensitive greenery may have had a hard time surviving overnight as temperatures neared the freezing point.

(More History)