Originally created 01/12/00

Small portions



Fantasy foods

Cooking in Oz (Cumberland House, $16.95) will keep fans of the Oz legends eagerly turning the paperback's pages even if they never go near the kitchen.

Authors Elaine Willingham and Steve Cox have assembled not only recipes but also an assortment of anecdotes, memories and photos from a wide range of people connected with the story since its appearance 100 years ago.

The original, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, was published as a children's book in 1900. It turned into a 20th-century cultural phenomenon, immortalized in the classic 1939 film, and subsequent film, TV and musical-theater versions.

That adds up to a huge cast of collaborators, and their families and descendants, with stories to tell and favorite foods to offer.

There's a chicken Kiev recipe from Florence Baum Hurst, granddaughter of L. Frank Baum; Andre's Whole-Food Soul-Food Dinner, from Andre De Shields, star of The Wiz Broadway musical; and Lena Horne's "Bitey" Beans from the venerable actress who played Glinda in the movie The Wiz.

Cook 'n' clean

They come for the carne picada and the chile relleno. Or for a car wash. Or all of the above.

At H&H Car Wash and Coffee Shop in El Paso, Texas, housewives and doctors and accountants pull up, hand over the keys to their sedans and sport-utility vehicles and sit down for a plate of traditional Mexican food.

Whether the food is just that good, or the convenience of a combined car wash-Mexican eatery attracts people, this little joint fills up each day. Over the years, diners at the downtown institution have included Laura Bush, wife of Texas Gov. George W. Bush, and renowned chef Julia Child.

Then in November, it landed on Texas Monthly magazine's list of the 75 best Mexican restaurants in Texas and just across the border.

Regular patrons say the food -- which they emphasize is not "Tex-Mex" but "real" Mexican food -- can't be beat.

Sterling manners

You Web surfers do not need your mothers to remind you to watch your manners. Just look at posh jeweler Tiffany & Co.'s Internet site. Lessons in good manners would be the last thing to expect on the Internet, but Tiffany says it is trying to add a touch of class to cyberspace. So www.tiffany.com includes "Ten Table Blunders," featuring advice such as "Respond promptly to an invitation" and "It's not polite to request the wine you brought as a gift."

Easy eats

How's this for cheap eats? Breakfast: $1.25. Lunch: $1.75. Still too high? How about a meal for free in exchange for a little elbow grease. That's the offer at Seattle's new nonprofit Boomtown Cafe, located in the city's historic Pioneer Square, which has a high concentration of homeless people. At the Boomtown Cafe, which will provide job-skills training, diners will be able to pay for meals -- priced at the cost of ingredients -- with cash or food stamps. Or, if they have no means, by helping out around the restaurant.