CHICKEN WINGS are flying higher than ever, defying perhaps not gravity but certainly the short life cycle of anything that attains trendiness in America.

According to news hot off the wires, Perdue's chicken wing sales are up 15 percent this year. Holly Farms' Hot N' Spicy Wings, introduced 1 1/2 years ago, are the second-best seller among the company's 16 items. Local and regional retailers report similar figures.

Surprised? Think about it. Chicken breasts are very popular, what with the continuing trend toward more healthful eating, and for every chicken there are two wings.

FOOD LABELING, TAKE 1,323. Or so it seems. Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan last week announced new provisions of the agency's plans for mandatory nutrition labeling:

Standard serving sizes would be established for 159 product categories.

A manufacturer could voluntarily list how a serving of its product compares to the daily recommendations for total fat, saturated and unsaturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber and potassium.

The listing of "U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances" would be changed to Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs).

Terms such as "low cholesterol" and "cholesterol free" would be defined.

All the plans, however, are stalled because of the continuing controversy over whether states should be allowed to enact stricter labeling rules. Stay tuned.

A Reader Asks ...

Q I asked the produce manager at the Hechinger Mall Safeway in Northeast to stock jicama. (It's wonderful as the crunchy element in salads.) He did and now I'm the only one who buys it. I'm afraid they'll stop stocking it. Can you help me interest others in jicama?

A We'll try.

SWORDFISH WITH GARLIC AND WALNUTS (4 servings) This sheer sauce of butter, lemon juice, garlic and walnuts is a good complement to broiled or grilled swordfish steaks. Steamed green beans or broccoli would be a fine accompaniment to the fish.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 swordfish steaks (1 pound), cut about 1/2 inch thick

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

Place the butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan; cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

Brush the swordfish steaks with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Broil (or grill) the steaks for 2 minutes, then turn over and cook for 2 minutes longer, or until cooked but still moist. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir the walnuts into the garlic-butter sauce. Transfer the steaks to a platter or individual plates and spoon the sauce over the fish. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 301 calories, 30 gm protein, 2 gm carbohydrates, 19 gm fat, 5 gm saturated fat, 66 mg cholesterol, 132 mg sodium.

-- Lisa Yockelson

THIS BRIGHT RED MOOSE stands 6 3/8 inches tall from the top of his antlers to the tips of his toes and costs $9.95. He's only eight leaves thick, including covers, but they are of cardboard so he can stand up. The recipe for Lemon Mousse with Raspberries (one of 12 in the book) stands up to scrutiny. LEMON MOUSSE WITH RASPBERRIES

(4 Servings)

3 egg yolks

8 tablespoons sugar

1 package unflavored gelatin

1/3 cup hot water

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 egg whites

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, or 10-ounce package frozen raspberries

Beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in a stainless-steel bowl over a double boiler of simmering water until they lighten in color (about 2 minutes). Dissolve gelatin in hot water and 1/2 cup lemon juice and add to egg mixture. Continue to beat for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and refrigerate mixture for 10 minutes.

Beat egg whites and 2 tablespoons sugar until peaks are formed. Pour lemon-egg yolk mixture into a serving bowl, fold in egg whites and add lemon rind. Chill for 4 to 6 hours.

Whip cream with 2 tablespoon sugar to form soft peaks, then refrigerate. Place raspberries, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar in a blender and pure'e for 1 minute. To serve mousse, top with whipped cream and pure'ed raspberries.

Per serving: 392 calories, 8 gm protein, 35 gm carbohydrates, 26 gm fat, 15 gm saturated fat, 287 mg cholesterol, 77 mg sodium.

TO DO. . .

Saturday: Latin and Southwestern dinner specialties, 7-10 p.m., prepared by chefs from around the country, with 10 percent of the proceeds benefiting nonprofit hunger-relief organization Share Our Strength, Tila's Restaurant, Chevy Chase, call 652-8452 for information.

A COUPLE TIPS for the season:

Remove the stems from cherries and berries and the green hull from strawberries after they are rinsed to avoid having the flesh become waterlogged.

A potato masher is the perfect piece of equipment for the fast "chopping" of hard-boiled eggs for egg salad and for avocados destined to become guacamole.