Originally created 03/16/05

Small bites



Easter fun facts

The National Confectioners Association offers the following bits of information about Easter traditions:

-The first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century and remain among the most popular treats associated with Easter.

-According to the Guinness World Records the largest Easter egg ever made was just over 25 feet high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 pounds and was supported by an internal steel frame.

In the United States:

-Seventy-six percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first.

-Ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are made for Easter each year.

-Sixteen billion jelly beans are made for Easter.

-Each day, five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter.

-Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday, with Halloween in first place.

-Eighty-eight percent of adults carry on the Easter tradition of making Easter baskets for their kids.

-Red jelly beans are kids' favorite.

(Source: The National Confectioners Association)

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Color your eggs in three easy steps

1. To make your dye, combine ½ cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and about 10 drops of food coloring.

2. Dip hard-cooked eggs in dye for about 5 minutes or until you get the color you want. For variety, try dipping the top half in one color and the bottom half in another, or leaving the eggs in the dye for different lengths of time, creating different shades of a particular color.

3. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to add or remove eggs from dye.

For further decoration, you may try these techniques:

-Marbleize: For marbled eggs, combine ¼ cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon oil, and 4 to 8 drops of food coloring in a shallow bowl. Gently roll each egg in the mixture for 30 seconds, or until the egg is the desired shade. Transfer the egg to a second color mixture, and repeat the process. Allow the egg to dry completely, and wipe away excess oil with a paper towel.

-Sticker art: Before dyeing eggs, apply stickers - chicks, rabbits, flowers or other favorites - to make the image you want. Dip eggs in dye as normal. Remove stickers once eggs have dried, to reveal perfectly "drawn" designs.

-For hand-painted designs: Combine 10 drops of one color, ½ teaspoon water and ½ teaspoon vinegar in a small container. Then hand-paint hard-cooked eggs with a paintbrush or cotton swab. Go wild with stripes, polka dots, or zigzags.

-Make a K for Kate: Personalize your family's eggs by using a white or light-colored crayon to write names on them before dipping them in the dye.

(Source: McCormick)

More egg dyeing ideas on the Web at:

http://www.mccormick.com

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Alabama food is being served up with a flourish

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel has launched a 2005 Year of Alabama Food campaign to tell travelers about the state's fine restaurants, food festivals and "rich culinary flavor."

Among a variety of cook-offs, large and small, a statewide cook-off is planned to find the official state dish, with finals scheduled for July 16 in Birmingham, during the first Alabama Food Festival at Pepper Place. There will be another competition during the festival - for the best-tasting tomato.

Looking to the long-term, even after the year of food, a brochure titled "100 Meals to Eat in Alabama Before You Die" lists memorable dishes, ranging from baked grits to crawfish pie, at specific eateries.

The brochure is available at tourism booths and other information points in the state. It may also be requested by phone toll-free from (800) 252-2262; or by e-mail from info(at)tourism.state.al.us.

The brochure and other information is available on the Web at:

http://www.800alabama.com

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Matzo ball soup is on the menu in Hong Kong

NEW YORK (AP) - When Passover begins at sundown April 23, Jewish diners in Hong Kong can count on finding a fix of traditional matzo ball soup - at a local deli, no less.

The Langham Hotel Hong Kong's Main Street Deli always has the real thing on the menu. The eatery, said to be Hong Kong's only authentic New York-style deli, patterned after the Second Avenue Deli in New York City, serves matzo ball soup and latkes on a daily basis.

Before the Hong Kong deli opened in 2001, the owner and kitchen crew of the New York deli visited Hong Kong to train the local staff, providing not only recipes but techniques, aiming to get the taste, texture and appearance of the dishes as true to the originals as possible.

The Langham Hotel is in the heart of Kowloon's Tsimshatsui district, directly across the harbor from central Hong Kong.