Sunday, August 1, 2004



I've heard you can get food poisoning from cantaloupe. How?

It is possible the soil the melon was grown in contained E. coli bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Even so, you can avoid contaminating the edible part of the melon by washing it before cutting and washing the knife after each slice. Refrigerate the cut melon and eat or discard it within three days. A bigger risk is cross-contaminating the melon with dangerous bacteria from other food, such as raw chicken or meat. When cutting cantaloupe and other melon, always use a clean knife and cutting surface. Because melon has a low level of acidity, it's an excellent medium for harmful bacteria to grow.

More melon tips:

• If you can't find a ripe melon, choose another fruit. Melons picked before they're mature will never reach full flavor potential.

• To see if the melon was picked before it's time, check the perimeter of the crater at the stem end for jagged edges. This is a sign the melon was pulled too early.

• Leaving seeds in a halved melon in the refrigerator will help keep it fresh.

• For best flavor, serve melon at room temperature or only slightly chilled.

• Give under-ripe melon more flavor by cutting it into chunks or melon balls and marinating it three to four hours in a mixture of 2 cups orange juice, 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. Add a little sugar or honey for extra sweetness.

Food Lover's Tiptionary (Hearst; $15)

Hot date: Leonard Hollander teaches kids to cook 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Wild Oats Market in Rookwood Commons. Class is free. Information: 981-0794.Tube food: On Unwrapped, host Marc Summers takes a timely look at things barbecue: a giant grilling rig on wheels, Weber's Chicago restaurant and the BBQ of the Month club. At 7 p.m. today on the Food Network.

Book look: Alas, summer will soon be over and it's back to school and back to the dreaded nightly dinner routine. "Kitchen Coach" Jennifer Bushman gets you in shape with her new book, Weeknight Cooking (Wiley; $19.95), which offers time-saving tips, menus, kid-friendly recipes and more adult recipes such as Coconut Chicken Curry with Basmati Rice and Herbed Lamb Chops with Roman Spinach.

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CD Reviews

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Up next

'Fallen Angels' is Ovation Theatre at its very best
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St. Ursula troupe takes their 'Heart' to Scotland

Southern fried
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Helpings Q&A

Get to it!