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GOURMANDISE

Houses for sale

The whole family will enjoy strolling down Main Street in the Village of Williamsville from Wednesday through Dec. 21 to view the holiday window displays at area businesses that show off beautifully crafted gingerbread houses by local bakers and chefs.

More than a dozen businesses are working together to present this first annual Ginger Kids' Gingerbread Village Stroll. There's a $1,000 grand prize for the top house, with the general public invited to visit area businesses and vote on the most creative entry. Everyone may bid on the houses, with the proceeds going to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of WNY.

The stroll is the brainchild of Patricia Green, who developed Ginger Kids, the business at 13 Hopkins Road that produces gingerbread house kits. The kits will be available for purchase throughout the stroll.

In conjunction, the Inn at Williamsville on Main Street in the village will host a decorating workshop for families from noon to 4 p.m. Dec.7. Reservations are necessary. Call 633-6480.

A Hanukkah party
The Jewish Festival of Lights is early this year, beginning this Saturday evening. To honor the occasion the Chabad House of Buffalo is sponsoring a family party at 2450 North Forest Road, Amherst, at 6 p.m. Dec. 4. A kosher buffet (catered by the Tandoori Restaurant) will be served with lots of latkes. A candle-lighting ceremony is scheduled and a Jewish comedian will take the stage. Please call 834-1915 to make reservations. The cost is $15 for adults, and $7 for children under 12.

Don't call, click
And the big news is that the Land O'Lakes Holiday Bakeline is going digital -- no more Holiday Bakeline 800 number. Times have definitely changed.

Instead, the company will be offering holiday baking information online at www.landolakes.com.

The site has more than 1,300 recipes with more than 300 specific to the holidays and has been updated to handle recipes and questions 24 hours a day.

He's Mr. Manners
Keep your elbows off the table when you attend the first dining event of a series of events sponsored by Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism on the fourth floor of St. Vincent's Hall at 6 p.m. Dec. 3.

Guest speaker at the dinner will be John Bourdage of Social Edge Seminars. Bourdage calls himself a "gracious living consultant" who knows everything about eating, from restaurant etiquette to conversing at parties. ("Do not discuss politics or religion," my mother always said.) At the December dinner, he'll talk about the history of fine dining.

Cost of the dinner is $30 a person. You must reserve. Call 286-8181.

Not our cookbook, either
You may disagree, but we think the recipes in "Not Your Mother's Cookbook" try a tad too hard to be different. The book by Marina and John Bear features ideas for stuff like Chocolate Chili with Cornflakes, Fried Chicken with Chrysanthemum Petals and Mint Flavored Meatloaf with an Egg in Every Serving. And before you ask, the book doesn't seem to be a joke.

The authors say the recipes really work.

Actually, a lot of the recipes just affix cutesy titles to classic (if slightly wacky) food preparations. (The book is published by SLG Books out of Berkeley and sells in soft cover for $16.95.)
Quotable
"Hurrah for the fun!

Is the turkey done?

Hurray for the pumpkin pie."

-- poet Lydia Maria Child.