We remember shortages. Peanut butter. Toilet paper. Caviar. And we remember people having to make readjustments in their lives. But we wonder about the impact of the newest food shortage: jelly beans. Factory orders for the top brands -- Teenee Beanees and Jelly Bellies -- are backed up, Teenee Beanies for 15 weeks, Jelly Bellies until June 1982. Jelly beans, after all, have become an important political and social statement that innumerable restaurants and offices find it necessary to make at their reception desks. And while we might think jelly beans are a food we can readily do without, Bob Harrington, president of the Maillard candy company, which produces Teenee Beanees, makes the pitch that each bean is only five calories, so for the same calories as a chocolate bar one can get not just one taste, but "all kinds of flavors and taste sensations." We always marvel at how many points of view on can find if one just tries.
Nomination for the most refreshing drink of the summer is Perrier-and-Sherbert (you can, of course, use club soda, but that's the official name). The official way to make it is to start with an ice cream soda glass, put in two scoops of sherbet (as with jelly beans, you can mix flavors), then slowly and carfully pour in sparkling water. Don't stir, but slide a long spoon down the side of the glass to keep the sherbet from damming the sparkling water at the top. Cold. Wet. Not too sweet. Next we'll tackle beer.
We never net a popcorn we didn't like. But some we like more easily than others.So one evening we combed the Safeway for all its brands of plain popcorn -- that is, without oil or flavoring or anything but corn. Nad we had a blind popcorn tasting. Three brands were entered: Jolly Time yellow, Orville Redenbacher and Town House. Jolly Time won, with Redenbacher a close second. Even more surprising, popcorn cooked in a Microwave oven (in a special mocrowave popcorn bowl) tasted consistently better than stove-top, cooked-in-oil popcorn. Just the opposite from what we had expected. Microwaved popcorn took a lot longer than stove-top, and popped fewer of the kernels. And had we put better on the popcorns, we might not have been able to distinguish them. But microwaved popcorn was uniformly -- if subtly -- more crisp and tender. As for value, Jolly Time was about 3 1/2 cent an ounce, Orville Redenbacher 6 1/3 cents an ounce, and Town House just under 2 1/2 cents an ounce. In sum, it was one of the few food tastings where everyong wanted more when it was finished.
Nobody talks of Nouvelle cuisine anymore. Therefore everybody is having a hard time talking about French food. It's being called cuisine libre, cuisine moderne, cuisine whatever. Andre Daguin, a chef from Gascony who has become on of the internationally known darlings of French cooking, has skirted the danger by called his new book "Le Nouveau Cuisinier Gascon." In Washington, nobody has settled on what to call it, but the trend is to have a new-style French chef cook dinner at your home. Yannick Cam and Jean-Louis Palladin are getting calls such as one from an Arab princess who wanted a homey meal for 50 people at $75 a head -- just for the food -- on a night when the restaurant was closed. Cam says he can't do it even that cheaply any more. Which leads us to suggest a name that might stick: cuisine cher.
Backpackers take note. Dehydrated liquor is just over the horizon. A Japanese firm, it is said, has managed the feat, and intends to eventually package it little pliofilm bags. Just add water. Or take a deep breath.
Ill winds may blow no good, but droughts can have their light moments. In the Gulf of Mexico this season, shrimp production got a boost from drought conditions, which kept pollutants in the fields rather than washing into the Gulf, and allowed shrimp to remain secluded from predators in bays rather than being flooded into dangerous waters. While shrimp prices in New Orleans were reported as low as 99 cents a point, prices elsewhere are not expected to drop; rather, the bumper crop will allow shrimpers to catch up on their recent losses.
What's a Fourth of July without walnut potica? It's a Fourth of July someplace other than the Smithsonian, for that day the National Museum of American History is hosting demonstrations of Coast Guard Lt. John R. Shannonhouse's Austrian pastires: strudels, walnut potica and Hungarian nut rolls. Ice cream will also be demonstrated, the wrapping of it in warm pastry, Thomas Jefferson style. And samples will be offered, July 2 to 5, from noon to 5 p.m., in the ice cream parlor on the first floor of the museum. For stay-at-homes, a recipe from Lt. Shannonhouse: HUNGARIAN NUT ROLLS (Makes 4 rolls) Dough: 1/4 cup warm water 1 package dry yeast 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons sugar 2 sticks butter or margarine 3 eggs, separated 1 cup dairy sour cream or yogurt 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour Nut filling: 1 1/4 cups sugar 2 pounds nuts, chopped 3 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Place warm water in a small measuring cup. Add yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Mix and allow the yeast to set for 5 to 7 minutes, until double in bulk and frothy.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter or margarine and the 4 tablespoons of sugar. Add egg yolks and sour cream or yogurt. Mix well. Add the yeast mixture and stir.
Gradually add 3 cups of flour and mix. Then add approximately 1 cup more flour, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Mix all nut filling ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
To assemble, preheat overn to 350 degrees. Divide dough in fourths. Place 1 ball of dough on a floured cloth or board and gently roll it out to a rectangle approximately 1/8-inch thick. Spread 1/4 of the filling on the rolled-out dough, leaving a 3-inch margin around the edges of the dough. Next, using the rolling pin, gently roll over the filling and lightly press the nuts into the dough. Then roll the dough jelly-roll fashion to make a tight roll approximately 12 inches long.
Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough and remaining filling.
Place the nut rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and brush with the egg white. Slit the tops of the rolls and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Gently lift off baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until serving time.
To serve, slice as thinly as possible while stille retaining shape.