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GOURMANDISE

'Kids' turn 100

If your heart doesn't melt when you're looking at this recently published book, then there probably is no hope for you. We're talking about "Campbell Kids: A Souper Century" by Aric Chen (Harry N. Abrams, $17.95).

It's a retrospective of the plump pair who carry their ages pretty well. The Kids are now celebrating their 100th anniversary. Through the years, the Kids have worked with Mickey Mouse, assumed the role of Rosie the Riveter, promoted the American Red Cross, inspired America to buy war bonds and -- oh yes -- also buy soup. Aric Chen relates the Kids' story, the growth and development of the Campbell's soup company and the related social and economic shifts of the last century along the way.

One interesting thing -- note how the Kids have changed through the years. Those chubby cheeks are a lot thinner than they used to be.

Hometown cooking

"Hometown Cooking, Volume II" is a spiral-bound compilation of signature regional recipes contributed by nonprofit organizations, local chefs, culinary arts schools and Bon-Ton and Elder-Beerman associates throughout the Northeast and Midwest. The book is available at Bon-Ton for $10, with $5 from each purchase donated to local nonprofit food-distribution organizations. You'll find many of your neighbors represented.

The book features recipes for appetizers, breads, soups, salads, vegetables, main courses and desserts.

Turkey calling

Just a reminder. The Butterball Turkey-Talk Line professionals are again poised to answer your every question about preparation of the holiday bird. Staffed with nearly 50 home economists and turkey experts, it will answer the queries of first-time cooks and seasoned pros alike.

The Number: (800)-288-8372.

Dates and hours:

Weekdays, Monday through Nov. 19: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Nov. 20 and Nov. 21: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Nov. 22 through Nov. 24: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Weekdays, Nov. 26 through Dec. 23: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Dec. 24 and Christmas Day: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Automated assistance is available after hours all year long. You can also log on to www.butterball.com.

Chow down

It has a clever name, is independently printed in San Francisco and is being launched in an initial run of 30,000. "Chow" magazine will be available at bookstores and sold in magazine racks in high-end food stores for $3.95. The next issue of Chow, next spring, will be available by subscription for an annual fee of $14.95.

"Created for a new generation passionate about food and drink," say the editors. The first issue features good graphics, a guide to Turkey Day, an interview with food critic Alan Richman and a city-by-city guide to the nation's best takeout.

Nothing too world-shaking, but, on the other hand, it doesn't take itself too seriously either. Worth taking a look.

Sharpen up!

Wanna know one thing that separates a chef from the ordinary run-of-the-mill cook? Knife skills. The ability to slice, carve, mince, chop and even garnish with the help of a good sharp blade is vital in the kitchen. If your knife skills need improving, you should know that a class on the subject will be presented by Ed Bartush of Wusthof-Trident cutlery at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29 in Premier Gourmet, 3465 Delaware Ave., Kenmore. The $30 fee includes a Wusthof paring knife.

Registration is required. Please call 877-3574.

Quotable

"Turkey is the easy part. It's what we add and surround the turkey with that might not be on our new 'diet' menus."

-- Astrid Volpert, registered dietitian and veteran of the Turkey Talk Line.