A TASTE OF NEW ENGLAND can find its way to your mailbox with "Currie's of Vermont," a mail-order purveyor of Vermont-made preserves, syrups, cheeses and other Green Mountain goodies. If Bee-Sting mustard, honey-buttermilk pancake mix, maple-cured bacon, smoked meats and addictive apple wood-smoked almonds aren't tempting enough, take note that 5 percent of the company's profits will go toward conservation efforts. Interested shoppers should write to P.O. Box 427, Northfield, Vt., 05663, or call 800-338-8448 for the catalogue.

Saturday: Chili Cookoff benefiting the National Kidney Foundation of the National Capitol Area, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Oronoco Bay Park, Old Town Alexandria. Adults $3, children under 12 free. Call 337-6600 for information and directions.

Sunday: "WETA Washington Wine Classic," tastings and auction, noon-5 p.m., Galleria at Lafayette Center. Call 998-2713 for tickets and information.

Monday: World Capital Chef's Society "Dinner with Julia Child," benefiting American Institute of Wine and Food, buffet prepared by Washington chefs, 6-9 p.m., Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. Tickets $45. Reservations required; call 922-5322 for information.

Wednesday: "Diet, Nutrition and Cancer," free seminar on the role of diet in cancer development and prevention, sponsored by American Institute for Cancer Research, 7-9 p.m., Key Bridge Marriott Hotel. Reservations required by Monday. Call 328-7744 or 800-843-8114 for registration and information.

KIDS REALLY DO EAT the fruit that's packed in their lunch boxes, at least according to a recent Gallup poll.

The poll of parents and children shows that 77 percent of children ages 6 to 12 say they eat the fruit packed for them; 5 percent trade it or throw it away; and 20 percent say it depends on the fruit.

Apples were the fruit most often packed in lunches and the fruit children perceived as most healthful. Oranges and bananas followed. The children had fruit an average of 3.45 times a week according to the study sponsored by Florida Department of Citrus.

Now if we just knew what becomes of all those balogna sandwiches.

Quick kitchen tips:

After chopping onions and garlic, take away some of the lingering smell by rinsing your hands in cold water with a little toothpaste.

When a plastic food storage container need refreshing, put several lengths of orange and lemon rind in it, fill it with cold water and let stand overnight. Place the lids in a large bowl, add a large lime, fill with cold water and let stand overnight. The next day, wash in soapy water.

When freezing sauces, soups, and stews (and other liquid-enriched dishes), leave at least 3/4 of an inch of headspace at the top of pint containers and about 1 inch of headspace at the top of quart containers so that the contents can expand during the freezing process.

CAPELLINI OR CAPELLETTI? German salami or Genoa salami? Damson prune plum or Santa Rosa plum? If you're confused about the differences between these and many other foods, there is now a handy and handsome book that can provide guidance.

"Cook's Ingredients," edited by Adrian Bailey and just published ($14.95) by Reader's Digest, is a 240-page guide to the kitchen. Through close-up photos and brief descriptions, cooks now can see and learn about more than 500 food items, from agar-agar ("a neutral-tasting gelatinous product obtained from various Far Eastern seaweeds ... used mainly in the making of jellies, and gelatinlike desserts.") to Zungenwurst (a "large German smoked sausage ... ").


The arrival of fall means it's time to get ready for succulent roasts and full-bodied sauces. Wild rice pilaf and steamed green beans would be good accompaniments to this flavorful dish.

3 pounds center-cut beef tenderloin

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3/4 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1/2 cup mixed fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley, chopped

1/2 bottle California cabernet wine

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup chopped shallots

2 cups beef or chicken stock

4 tablespoons butter

Tie the tenderloin with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals. Season with salt and pepper, Heat the olive oil in a roasting pan and quickly sear the tenderloin. Spread the fresh herbs over the tenderloin and roast in a preheated 450-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked to taste. Remove from oven and let meat rest for at least 10 minutes.

While cooking the meat, pour the cabernet and vinegar into a saucepan. Add shallots and bring to a boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the stock and reduce again by half. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in butter. Slice the tenderloin and serve with the sauce.

Per serving: 656 calories, 42 gm protein, 5 gm carbohydrates, 50 gm fat, 20 gm saturated fat, 163 mg cholesterol, 1165 mg sodium.

Lynn Foster