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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Miscellaneous ideas worth trying out

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

You can tell when someone loves their vocation — or avocation — because they can't wait to share what they've learned, and they're always learning. From the welter of scribbled notes, press releases, catalogs and other detritus on my desk, here are some ideas that have kept me learning lately.

Last weekend, my best friend visited from Maui and introduced me to a ceramic grater from Japan (about $11). It's about the size of a saucer with a well around the rim for catching escaping juice and a group of very sharp points in the center, over which you run the peeled vegetable. It shreds like crazy — but watch the fingers.

While we were at Shirokiya, I also invested in a vegetable slicer (about $45) that can do much of what my expensive mandoline can do, but takes up lots less space. It looks like an oversize vegetable peeler and has three blades: one that peels just about anything with the ease of scraping a knife across butter, in addition to making paper-thin slices; one that makes strips and one that makes those thread-thin strings you see as garnish in Japanese restaurants. We went home and made namasu in minutes.

A while back, I was lamenting some chipped and broken pieces of my hard-to-replace china pattern (Calico by Staffordshire) when my dear next-door neighbor turned me on to Replacements Ltd., a North Carolina-based company that specializes in china, crystal and silver. They have more than 165,000 patterns. They now send me frequent updates on what's available in my pattern. (800) 737-5223 or P.O. Box 26029, Greensboro, NC 27420. If you don't know the pattern, send a picture.

Never enough cookbooks? Jessica's Biscuit is a Massachusetts catalog firm that specializes in recipe collections and food-related books with discounts of at least 20 percent and some new releases at 30 to 40 percent off list price. (800) 878-4264 or ecookbooks.com. If you're looking for an out-of-print cookbook or food book, try Kitchen Arts & Letters, 1435 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10128, (212) 876-5550. Another source, a Web site that searches bookstore Web sites and data bases to locate the book, is BookFinder.com. You can buy the book online through them or contact the seller directly.

Finally, a friend turned me on to Gold Mine Natural Food Co.'s catalog for foods and products (organic, macrobiotic, vegan); 7805 Arjons Dr., San Diego, CA 92126-4368; (800) 475-FOOD (3663); goldminenaturalfood.com. Good stuff.