ELEPHANT TRUNK ought to be wildly popular considering that little rings of squid have been mildly accepted by discriminating diners. At least you would think so. Not so.
According to Jan de Haast of the Sun Hotel chain in Zimbabwe, boiled elephant trunk has not gone over at all with tourists. Not like crocodile tail, roasted warthog and hippo burgers. It's just too tough. Antelope such as kudu and eland are popular, too.
Little of the game is killed in the wild, however. Much of it is farm raised. John White, of Wildlife Producers Assn., inHarare, Zimbabwe, says the association's 460 members try to conserve wildlife by breeding species like zebra, waterbuck and white rhinoceros for food, hunting and game viewing.
Such exotic fare is being served in hotels, safari lodges and bush camps catering to tourists, who like to "boast they ate a crocodile," says de Haast. "It's better than the other way around."
HAVING YOUR CAKE and eating it too is becoming increasingly possible these days. Now Giant Food is following in the footsteps of Entenmann's, which introduced a formidable line of no-fat, no-cholesterol cakes this past January.
Giant's varieties follow closely -- in some cases identically -- those introduced by Entenmann's. Both companies produce blueberry crunch cakes, banana crunch cakes (although Giant's isn't drizzled with chocolate), cherry-filled Danish, pound cakes (although Giant's is topped with "crunch") and so on.
As for appearance, we prefer the looks of Entenmann's. Their cakes are more golden on top; Giant's tend toward a less appetizing beige. As for nutrition, they both contain no fat or cholesterol, and both are under 100 calories per one-ounce slice. (They are also both loaded with sugar and various artificial ingredients.) As for price, Giant's, not surprisingly, are priced lower (sometimes substantially) than Entenmann's.
And as for the crucial point -- which tastes better -- The Washington Post Food section was divided. In an informal taste test of six comparable cakes, some samplers preferred Giant's products because they tasted less artificial and moister than Entenmann's. Others preferred Entenmann's products for their lighter and higher-quality taste, citing Giant's products for being gummy and thus unpleasant. Both camps believed that Entenmann's line tasted sweeter, which can be either a positive or negative.
ITSY-BITSY, TEENY-WEENY is the direction that some food products are heading these days. Ritz Bits Sandwiches, Premium Bits Crackers and Keebler Tribbles Cookies are just a few items that are getting down-scaled by manufacturers. Dubuque is rolling out a mini-bacon product, which it calls "pan-size." The slabs are half the size of regular bacon. Even the Lifesavers company is joining the smaller-is-beautiful brigade with out-takes from those fruity inner tubes: Lifesavers Holes.
Q More and more varieties of fresh herbs are becoming available in the supermarkets, but when they are taken home they seem to wilt by the next day. How do you keep herbs fresh if they're not going to be used immediately?
A The best way to keep fresh herbs -- such as parsley, basil, oregano and cilantro -- is to plant the stems in a glass of fresh water and to make a fairly airtight covering over the leaves with a plastic bag. Placed in the refrigerator, the herbs should stay fresh for about a week.
THINGS TO DO
Thursday: Author Jennifer Trainer, Williams-Sonoma/Mazza Gallerie, noon-1:30 p.m., free demo from "The Yachting Book" (Crown).
Friday: Author Richard Grausman, Sutton Place Gourmet/New Mexico Avenue, 5-7 p.m., book signing and samples from "At Home With the French Classics" (Workman).
Saturday and Sunday: Annapolis Wine and Food Celebration, state wines and food, Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday noon-6 p.m., College Creek, St. John's College, $10, under 21 free, call 301-263-9600 for information.
Dinner Tonight SLICED PORK SALAD (4 servings)
This salad is composed of greens and other vegetables, tossed in a light oil and vinegar dressing, and capped off with thinly sliced pork.
FOR THE PORK:
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
About 3/4 pound boneless pork loin, cut into 4 1-inch thick slices
FOR THE SALAD:
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot prepared mustard
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably canola (or a combination of peanut and canola oil)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 firm cucumber, coarsely shredded
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
Combine the soy sauce, honey and ginger in a bowl; add the pork and let stand. Preheat the broiler to high. Broil the pork a few inches from the heat source about 6 minutes, turn over, and broil for 5 to 6 minutes longer, or until cooked through.
Whisk the vinegar, mustard and oil in a bowl. Blend in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut each pork tenderloin into thin slices. Toss the greens, cucumber and red pepper with the dressing. Divide the greens among 4 large serving plates and top with the pork slices, fanning them over the salad. Garnish with extra sprigs of cilantro, if you wish, and serve immediately.
Per serving: 435 calories, 29 gm protein, 15 gm carbohydrates, 29 gm fat, 6 gm saturated "at, 80 mg cholesterol, 1112 mg sodium.
-- Lisa Yockelson