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What is it?

A bottle of soy sauce to you if you guessed that this is a Chinese Spatula-Turner. It's the best tool to use when preparing stir-fry. The curved shape matches the bottom of a wok so no ingredients escape, and the outside edges curve up so you can really scoop up a lot of food. Not to mention the long handle that helps you keep your distance from the necessary intense heat.

Do note, however, that the spatula is made of stainless steel, so it will scratch non-stick surfaces.


Chocolate and caramel

Buffalo's own Fowler's Chocolate Co. announces the creation of "Cornucopia of Caramel," a selection of chocolate-coated caramel treats. Let's see now, there's a dark chocolate oval with a raspberry-flavored caramel filling, a milk chocolate heart shape enclosing chocolate-flavored caramel, a dark chocolate cube with a coffee bean on top enclosing -- surprise -- coffee-flavored caramel, and finally a swirling shape that surrounds traditional butter caramel.

Which to choose? Which to choose?


A taste of SEAsonings

SEAsonings 2001, a benefit for the Aquarium of Niagara, is scheduled for March 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Aquarium, 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls. Called "The Original Taste of Niagara," the event will feature food and wine from notable restaurants in the county like the Alps Chalet, the Atrium-Ramada Inn, Days Inn at the Falls, Danny Sheehan's Steak House, DiCamillo Bakery, Fortuna's, the Orchard Grill, Red Coach Inn, Riverside Inn, Thaxton's Dinner House, the Clarkson House, the Pastry Table, TimberLodge Steakhouse and Villa Fortunata's.

The cost is $40 per person. Reservations should be made by March 1. Call 285-3575, ext. 206 for more information.


Presidential secrets

New on the bookshelves for 2001: "Secrets from the White House Kitchens" by former Western New Yorker Jack (John R.) Hanny, an owner of the Eagle House Restaurant in Williamsville (Rutledge Books, $24.95). It deals with the culinary style of presidents from FDR through Bill Clinton, giving both comments and recipes from the presidents' private family kitchens. Hanny did his research at presidential libraries and also spoke with family members.

You'll learn about the culinary agenda of Eleanor Roosevelt, who really didn't care that much about food and planned a banquet of hot dogs and baked beans for King George of England. You'll learn about Jacqueline Kennedy's "flair for French cuisine and presentation," and get the recipe for the Trumans' Tuna and Noodle Casserole (made with canned tuna but homemade cheese sauce). Not to mention the Nixons' Herbed Cottage Cheese Salad (with Thousand Island Dressing, not ketchup).

Who knows? If this keeps up, we may someday even see recipes for Chicken-Fried Steak and Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Hanny, by the way, who now lives in the Washington area, has just finished another culinary work called "Founders Fare," which is expected to debut in the fall and deals with the Colonial era. He's also written a political thriller, "Asleep at the Wheel," to be published this summer.


"Gave up spinach for Lent." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald