IT'S NOT TOO LATE to mark your calendars for this year's important food holidays. OK, so we are just about through with January -- National Prune Breakfast Month -- but how many of you really would have celebrated that anyway?
But for the rest of the year, there are some food fetes you may not want to miss. February, for instance, is Potato Lovers' Month -- as well as Canned Food Month and National Meat Month.
March brings National Frozen Food Month, National Peanut Month and National Nutrition Month (try celebrating all three at one time).
Skipping to May, it's time for National Candy Month, National Strawberry Month and National Barbecue Month (ever taste a barbecued strawberry?).
June, in addition to being Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, also is designated as a time for Turkey Lovers.
Thank goodness there's July 4th -- a day when perhaps all the food holidays of that month can be noted with an Independence Day picnic. After all, it's National Baked Beans Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Peach Month and July Belongs to Blueberries Month.
With September and the return to school comes All-American Breakfast Month, National Chicken Month and National Honey Month.
Then October -- the month for pasta, seafood, pork, pizza and popcorn. Next is November: Fresh Florida Citrus is Here Month.
For December ... well who needs a special holiday to celebrate food that time of year?
Besides, by then, it should certainly be time for National Antacid Month.
Feb. 10: Epicurean Food and Wine Auction, sponsored by Les Dames D'Escoffier, 5:30 p.m., The River Club, benefits Anne Crutcher Professional Fellowship Fund, prizes include a week at E'cole de Cuisine La Varenne at the Greenbrier, dinner for 10 prepared in your home by Jean-Louis of the Watergate, a dinner with Washington Post restaurant critic Phyllis Richman as she reviews a local restaurant, $50, for reservations call or write Marcia Fox, 5833 Colfax Ave., Alexandria, Va. 22311, 703-998-3079. SCALLOPS WITH GARLIC AND PARSLEY (4 servings)
Tender bay scallops, turned in garlic-flecked butter, make a quick and lively main course. Serve the scallops with a rice pilaf and steamed green beans tossed with toasted pine nuts.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 plump garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound bay scallops
2 tablespoons dry white vermouth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Place the butter in a skillet, set over moderate heat to melt, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Raise the heat to moderately high, stir in the scallops, and cook for 2 minutes, or until the scallops just begin to lose their translucency. Add the vermouth and red pepper; stir-cook for 1 minute longer, or until the scallops are just cooked through. Season the scallops with salt to taste and fold through the chopped parsley. Serve piping hot. Per serving: 190 calories, 19 gm protein, 4 gm carbohydrates, 10 gm fat, 6 gm saturated fat, 62 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium. -- Lisa Yockelson
MARSHMALLOW RECIPES are not at the front of our card file, but it's hard to resist "The Search for America's Best Marshmallow Recipe" contest. The entry deadline is March 1 and the rules are so long that rather than print them we'll let you write to Kraft Marshmallow Contest Rules, 739 Roosevelt Rd., Suite 308, Glen Ellyn, Ill. 60137-5820. (You've probably already figured out that one of the rules is that you have to use Kraft marshmallows.)
The more we think about it, what's the point? The best recipe includes a bonfire and a long green twig. The only question is choosing between radiantly browned marshmallows and marshmallow flambe'.
LAST WEEK, WE TOLD you about the continuing controversy over the labeling of Procter & Gamble's Citrus Hill Fresh Choice orange juice, a refrigerated product made from reconstituted frozen concentrate that critics claim is incorrectly being called "fresh."
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration finally sent a letter to the company charging that several aspects of the label, including the use of the term "fresh," are "false and misleading." The FDA also objected to copy on the side panel of the paperboard container that states, "We pick our oranges at the peak of ripeness, then we hurry to squeeze them before they lose their freshness ... We don't add anything ... " The latter sentence is "false," the agency wrote, because water has been added to make the product, and possibly other ingredients used to make frozen concentrate, such as orange oil, pulp and essence.
The agency also said that the qualifier "from concentrate" is too small in relationship to the product name. P&G has 10 days to notify FDA about its plans to correct the label. As of Monday, a spokeswoman for the company said that P&G does not believe the label is misleading and will continue to defend the name.
LIQUID APPLE PIE? For those who've just had braces put on their teeth, it's not a bad idea. Aside from the apple pie, "Tasty Tips for Tender Teeth," a booklet one local orthodontia patient received following a partial metal-mouthing, contains some pretty offbeat suggestions. Float several spoonfuls of cottage cheese on hot tomato soup? Cut a grilled cheese sandwich in small squares, spear with a fork and dunk in cold milk?
The apple pie milkshake, however, can be enjoyed by those with or without tender or tough teeth. Simply core and bake a large apple (either in the oven or microwave). Allow to cool (unless you like hot apple pie). Scrape the apple innards into a blender or food processor and add a scoop (about 1/2 cup) of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, a 1/4 cup of milk and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Process until smooth. And voila`, as the booklet says, "Apple pie a la mode without the (ouch!) crust."