Food & Drink

Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.

Ideas for your party

Real Simple, the magazine that smooths the path of daily life, tackles parties in its newest book. "Real Simple Celebrations" (Time, $27.95) presents ideas for nine of the most likely times you'll entertain: the holidays, a milestone birthday and a shower, as well as simple gatherings with friends.
From invitations to recipes and tips for dealing with difficult guests, the book offers an all-inclusive guide to pulling off a successful party. Ideas for games and conversation starters should keep it lively.

Test your food knowledge

Food trivia questions from Food Network's "Unwrapped"
show that airs on Cox cable channel 59 on Mondays at 9
and 9:30 p.m. 1. What percentage of American kitchens have a blender?
2. Blenders were used for a scientific purpose. What was it?
3. When did smoothies first become popular?
4. What were smoothies named after? 5. Why are martinis shaken, not stirred? 6. What was the original purpose of cocktail shakers?
7. Where was salt kept in the Victorian era?
8. If a watermelon sounds hollow when you thump it, is it good?
9. How do small watermelons differ from large ones?
10. What happens when dextrose is put in the mouth?

How do you say 'authentic'?

Every cuisine has dishes that can clue you into whether you're getting an authentic approach or not. Here's what to look for:
  • Burmese: Get the mohingar, a hearty, slightly sour lemon grass-scented soup, and look for a plentiful amount of white-fleshed fish. (In Rangoon, that fish would be the much-loved northern snakehead, which has caused concern here by invading the Potomac River.)
  • Cantonese: Weekends are always best for dim sum, Cantonese for "heart's delight." At better dim sum houses, where carts stacked with little steamer baskets clog the aisles, chefs create special stuffed dumplings, buns and crepes to show their skills. Still, the most popular dish for Chinese customers is chicken feet with black bean sauce, while Westerners tend to favor steamed shrimp and pork dumplings.
  • Korean: It's all about the panchan, those little complimentary side dishes of preserved vegetables, dried fish and fermented legumes. The best Korean restaurants have a large, revolving repertoire of dishes, so a surprise should always be in store. The one given: kimchi, spicy pickled, fermented cabbage.
  • Thai: From restaurant to restaurant, no two pad Thais are alike. But Thailand's most popular dish should be a delicious tangle of sauteed rice noodles with shrimp, egg, ground peanuts and tofu - fresh and fragrant, pungent then sweet. It should never be sticky and gummy.
  • Vietnamese: Take a whiff of the pho. A classic Vietnamese noodle soup has a strong aroma of beef, not an overpowering presence of star anise.


    1. 90 percent. 2. Blenders were used to develop the original polio vaccine.
    3. In the 1970s. 4. Cigarettes that were in a 1940's movie.
    5. For theatrical effect and to disperse aldehydes.
    6. They were used in the 1920s when the quality of liquor was bad and needed to be mixed to get a decent drink.
    7. In an open cellar. 8. No. It's probably overripe and mushy. 9. They are usually denser and seedless. 10. It has a natural cooling quality. If you don't know a Cortland from a Crispin, log on here for apple facts, fruit history, variety profiles and recipe
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