Originally created 01/26/00

Small portions



Good either way

As a child, you probably didn't know -- or care -- about the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. You were too busy plopping marshmallows on top of the steaming mug and waiting impatiently for them to form a monstrous blob before taking a gulp.

The distinction is simple. Hot cocoa calls for cocoa powder, sugar and milk; hot chocolate requires melted chocolate and milk.

You can eat cake

Torn between your love for homemade cake and the convenience of mixes? Anne Byrn lets you have your cake and eat it, too, with The Cake Mix Doctor (Workman, $14.95), a cookbook that uses packaged mixes as a starting point for more than 150 fancy desserts. Easy tiramisu and New York-style cheesecake start with a white cake mix; yellow cake mix becomes Irish almond and caraway cake; there are even recipes for mix-based cookies and pastries. Lots of cooking tips are sprinkled throughout.

Harvey is back

In the late 1960s and early '70s, Harvey Wallbanger was everywhere. Surfers spoke his name at beach bars. Their parents were pleased to find him at the country club. Whether or not a surfer named Harvey really did walk into walls after too much of his favorite cocktail, as the legend goes, the promoters of Galliano liqueur scored a coup when they introduced a mix of fresh orange juice and vodka (the classic screwdriver) topped with a float of their golden liqueur. The drink named Harvey propelled sales of all three ingredients.

But there's an end, even to the seemingly endless summer, and by the mid-'70s Harvey was a has-been.

"Galliano stopped promoting it," explains Joe McClure, a former Chicago bartender, "and the kids started drinking mai tais and vodka straight or with grapefruit juice. But I was asked to make one a couple of months ago. Maybe it's going to make a comeback, like the martini."

Soup on the go

Packaging is paramount to Campbell's Soup To Go, which can be microwaved in its container -- remove the metal lid, replace the plastic one, and zap for 2 minutes. They're a great hot-lunch solution when you're in a hurry and want something low in fat and calories. Flavors include hearty chicken noodle, vegetable beef with pasta, garden vegetable, chicken rice, and minestrone.

Online baking

The Village Bakery (www.countrylife.net/bread/) is an online hangout with the feel of a small-town Main Street bakery. There's chitchat in the way of a lively message board (it's filled with recipe exchanges and baking tips) and a virtual shelf of ideas for the kitchen. The Recipe Bin has dozens, if not hundreds, of goods for your home pantry, including New York-style Chocolate Chip Bagels, White Chocolate Bread, Pocketless Pita and Italian Style Pizza Dough.

Back to basics

If you're not into Coke Classic yet, you soon will be. One of a series of new Coca-Cola TV spots literally puts you into a bottle. Another features a parrot giving a perfect imitation of the soft drink being opened, poured and consumed. Coca-Cola hopes the new commercials will put the fizz back into sales of its flagship brand, which have gone flat.

Winning cookies

Hey, cookie monsters, look before you eat. Starting this week, more than 1.5 million prize-winning cookies will be distributed in specially marked packages of Oreo and Oreo Double Stuf. One grand-prize Oreo will read TRIP -- a "Fantasy Trip" for a family of four. Other winning cookies will read "Car," "Cookies & Cash," and "Oreo Toy."