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GOURMANDISE

Sipping for free

Several New York State wineries are planning to present free wine tastings every Saturday through October at the Clarence Hollow Farmers' Market, 10225 Main St., at the corner of Shisler Road, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Finger Lakes, Niagara County and Chautauqua County wineries have been scheduled including, this coming Saturday, Heron Hill. In most cases, the featured wines will be for sale as well.

Further information can be obtained by calling the Asa Ransom House, 759-2315.

Let's make a mess

It's OK to be a piggy in the kitchen, believes actress/model Karen Duffy, who also serves as a spokeswoman for Revlon cosmetics. Anyway, she has just put together a book, "Slob in the Kitchen," that says it is. The book sells for $23 and is published by Clarkson Potter.

Her culinary style is "clamorous rather than glamorous," she says, and so she is offering one-dish "Kitsch-en Classics" for hors d'oeuvre, main dishes and desserts that are so easy she says a monkey can make them.

Each of the recipes has a code -- a chimp dons a dunce cap, mortarboard or chef's toque depending on the level of complexity.

Marshmallow Cake bears a dunce cap, for instance. (It's made from a bag of marshmallows and a package of chocolate cake mix.) In fact, most of the recipes wear dunce caps.

And how about this for a stunning culinary idea? It comes from the book and is called Piping Hot Peeps: "If you put a marshmallow chick (the kind you find in an Easter basket) in the microwave for 15 seconds, the little yellow chick will inflate to the size of a full grown hen," Duffy says. Wow.

Just don't ask us to clean the microwave afterward.

Cold comfort

Percent of women who feel guilty for eating ice cream: 44

Percent of men who do: 30

Average amount of ice cream an American eats in a lifetimes: one ton, which is also the approximate weight of a baby elephant

These figures come from the July/August issue of Health Magazine.

Over the border

If you're a foodie who remains unafraid of border jam-ups, mark the dates Sept. 10 to 12 on your calendar.

This is the occasion for the Niagara Wine & Food Classic to be held in Niagara Falls, Ont., featuring vineyard tours, winemakers' dinners, food demonstrations by celebrated chefs and a grand tasting featuring more than 100 wines and culinary creations.

More information can be obtained by visiting www.DiscoverNiagara.com or call (800) 563-2557.

Quotable

"A cook shouldn't really drink -- but if he does, it should be champagne."

Famed French chef Antonin Careme