Armchair diners have the opportunity to savor the menus (if not the actual food) of 8 to 10 country inns around the Washington area when First Class, Inc., holds a slide show seminar entitled "Romantic Country Inns" on Feb. 7, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Wine and dessert will accompany discussion of the selected establishments. The fee is $16. For reservations, call First Class, Inc. at 797-5102. Hands-on Help for Cooking Convention

Foodies take note. The International Association of Cooking Professionals is seeking volunteers for its annual gathering at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, March 18-23.

Individuals interested in assisting with the convention's varied workshops, master cooking classes and special programs can call volunteer coordinator Vivian Portner at 622-3867 for more information. Elevating the Nuts

Acorns, chestnuts and coconuts aside, the USDA last month proposed offering peanuts and "other nutritionally comparable nuts and seeds and their butters" as meat alternatives to students on school lunch programs.

If the plan is accepted, peanuts would join the ranks of currently acceptable meat substitutes such as cheese, cooked dry beans or peas, eggs and peanut butter which "count toward no more than half of the required servings of meat or meat alternates."

Thus far, the USDA has declined to credit yogurt or tofu as meat alternates.