An item in the Food section Wednesday incorrectly described how best to ship dried fruit in care packages to Saudi Arabia. The fruit should be commercially packaged and treated with sulfur dioxide or other preservatives. (Published 10/12/90)
GET ON DOWN with the Campbell Kids! The well-known, but frankly nerdy corporate symbols have been updated. Now featured in a new advertising campaign -- you probably missed it if you don't watch children's TV -- the pudgy kids have been spiffed up.
Not only are they wearing trendier rags -- layered T-shirts, Spandex stretch pants and Hawaiian shirts -- but they are also break dancing and moon dancing. On top of that, they are downright rapping! It's the first time the kids have been heard talking in 32 years -- all to promote Campbell's newest product, Teddy Bear Soup (pasta in the shape of teddy bears in chicken broth).
Campbell officials say the campaign is an ongoing effort to give the 86-year-old kids an up-to-date personality. Eventually, the company plans to give each kid a different personality. Just what personalities, however, a company spokesman declined to say. But, he said, "I doubt any will be a nerd."
Saturday: "Taste of Bethesda" street festival with samples of food from Bethesda restaurants, music and entertainment, noon-3 p.m., St. Elmo Avenue; books of eight tickets, each ticket good for one tasting, are $10 and available at ticket booths at each end of St. Elmo Avenue. Call 301-652-8798 for information.
THE LONGER THE TROOPS remain in Saudi Arabia, the more they look forward to little packages from home. So, it's time to think about what goodies would travel well and survive the desert heat.
It's a given to steer clear of chocolate, which may turn into a gooey and inedible mess by the time it arrives. That means especially no fudge or chocolate candy, but even chocolate chip cookies could suffer. Additionally, avoid high-moisture sweets, such as tea loaves, that could get moldy. Saudi Arabian rules forbidding alcohol and pork should also be abided.
So what is there to send? Drier cookies such as gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, molasses cookies, crunchy sugar cookies or crisp oatmeal cookies. Wrapped well, they should survive the heat and even if they arrive in pieces, they are certain to be enjoyed. Unadorned brownies (without chocolate chunks or frosting but perhaps with some nuts) should also hold up well, as should well-packed peanut brittle. Then there's fruit cake -- just omit the alcohol.
Other possibilities: individually wrapped hard candy (to keep it from becoming one great big sticky mass), dried fruit snacks and trail mix. But a nutritionist at the Department of Agriculture's Extension Service cautions that dried fruits should be commercially packaged and treated with sulfa dioxide or other preservatives.
Then there's beef jerky or salami -- as long it contains no pork. While you're at it, send some packages of powdered Gatorade or iced tea, suggests one Defense Department official who has been in Saudi Arabia. Also appreciated are such nice-to-have trinkets as a pocket knife (to cut the salami, of course), tweezers, thread and extra buttons plus some extra-long black shoelaces. "You're always breaking them and there's never a new pair immediately around," one Army official noted.
Whatever you send, make sure it goes first class. That should get the package there in about 10 days. Otherwise ...
SALMON MAY BE PINK, but the fishing industry in the United States is seeing red over farm-raised Norwegian salmon, which accounts for slightly more than half of the salmon sold here. Charging that fresh farm-raised Norwegian salmon is being sold below cost in the U.S., domestic farmers are seeking remedial action from the U.S. government.
The fish farmers, joined together in a group called the Coalition for Fair Atlantic Salmon Trade, also contend that the Norwegian government is unfairly subsidizing that country's salmon industry.
So far, the coalition has won the support of the Commerce Department, which last month issued a preliminary finding that Norwegian salmon was "being sold in the U.S. at less than fair value." A final determination is due in December. If it concurs, then the International Trade Commission will determine whether the imports hurt the U.S. industry. If so, a duty will be imposed on the Norwegian fish -- which in turn may increase the price of salmon.
Most salmon officials say that any increase would be modest. But even so, it will then be consumers who will start seeing red.
VEGETARIAN TACOS WITH BLACK BEANS
Tart-tasting tomatillos from Mexico look like small green tomatoes wrapped in papery beige husks. Don't be surprised if the tomatillos feel sticky when you peel them. Simply wash under running water. Tomatillos are available fresh in area supermarkets and in Spanish markets.
1 pound tomatillos or ripe tomatoes
1 small red pepper, seeded, cored (use green bell pepper if using tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 scallions, very thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
15-ounce can black beans, drained (1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1 cup yogurt, sour cream or shredded Monterey Jack cheese
8 to 10 tacos, warmed
Remove papery husk from tomatillos and discard. Wash tomatillos and dice 1/4-inch square to make about 3 cups. Dice red pepper 1/4-inch square to make about 1 cup.
Heat oil in a 10-inch wide skillet on medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 4 minutes until softened. Increase heat to high. Add tomatillos, red pepper, beans and jalapenos and stir-fry 2 minutes until heated through.
Stir in lime juice, salt and cilantro and stir-fry 2 minutes. The mixture should be crunchy and thick. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve in warm tacos. Sprinkle cheese or spoon yogurt or sour cream on top.
Per serving: 339 calories, 15 gm protein, 50 gm carbohydrates, 10 gm fat, 2 gm saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 304 mg sodium.
-- Leslie Beal Bloom