Wine country idyllWhat could be lovelier than...


Wine country idyll

What could be lovelier than a Sunday picnic in the country -- especially if all one has to do is show up for charcoal-grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken breasts marinated with lemon and sage, baked beans, summer salads and homebaked desserts.

All this bounty is available in the "wine country" setting of Boordy Vineyards, 12820 Long Green Pike, in Baltimore County. Cookouts are informal, with a few tables and acres of lawn. If it rains, the event moves to the second floor of the winery. All the picnics include wine-tastings, and wines are also available for purchase by the bottle.

Picnics will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today, and on June 7, 14, 21 and on July 5 and 12. The cost for the buffet is $14.50 for adults and $9 for children 12 and under. Advance reservations are required. Space is limited, so reservations must be confirmed by cash, check, Visa or Mastercard, and cancellations are required by 5 p.m. of the Friday before the event. For more information, or to make a reservation, call (410) 592-5015 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The cookbook "Great Cakes" by Carole Walter has returned to the market after being recalled because of an erroneous reference to using an inedible plant. Ballantine recalled the book some months ago for corrections, offering buyers a full refund for returned copies; the company also said consumers could simply mark out the reference to lilies of the valley on Page 499.

Earlier this month the book won a James Beard Award for best book in the baking and desserts category.

Innkeepers' invitation

Innkeepers at more than 1,500 country inns and bed and breakfast places are once again teaming up with Nabisco Cereals to repeat last year's successful "Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free" offer.

Consumers who send in a filled-out request form with two proofs of purchase from shredded wheat cereals and $2.75 for shipping and handling will receive a booklet listing the participating inns and a certificate for an extra night free with particular bookings. Look for the first request forms in newspapers around June 7; after that they'll be printed on the backs of the cereal boxes.

The booklet lists 34 inns in Maryland, from Annapolis to Baltimore to Chestertown to Frederick to Havre de Grace to Snow Hill to Westminster. Among participating inns are Celie's Waterfront B&B; in Fells Point, the Inn at Buckeystown in Buckeystown, Tyler-Spite House in Frederick, the Robert Morris Inn in Oxford and the Parsonage Inn in St. Michaels.

The program, organized by Nabisco and the Association of American Historic Inns, was so successful last year that books and gift certificates had to be printed several times. Consumers may request books and certificates until Dec. 31 this year; the certificates are good for travel through Dec. 31, 1992.

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More like it hot and spicy

A recent study by the National Restaurant Association shows that more and more main-stream restaurateurs are adding heat and spice to their menus in the form of ethnic items, often oil-and-tomato based.

The association compared 50 menues in use in 1989 with 50 menus in use in 1991, and found an increase in ethnic items from 242 to 360 items. Association President John R. Farquharson attributed the growth in ethnic foods to an influx of Hispanic and Asian people and to new dietary guidelines that encourage interest in alternative cuisines as a way to increase fiber and reduce cholesterol.

Tops in 1991 for ethnic entries, however, with 146 items, is Italian food; lasagna and pizza were tied for first among those offerings. Mexican cuisine, in second place, showed the biggest growth, rising 179 percent from five years ago to 120 items last year. Chinese foods ran third with 44 items.

The association does a subjective analysis of menus selected at random every fall to track changes in offerings over the previous five-year period.

Suited to a tea

Summertime is tea time for a growing number of people. The folks at Thomas J. Lipton want everyone to know that tea quenches thirst, replaces fluid lost in exercise and, because whoever brews it controls the added ingredients, can be safely drunk in quantity without guilt or nutritional drawbacks.

Among the tips the company offers for enjoying iced tea:

*Garnish chilled glasses with fruit kabobs -- combining such fruits as grapes, strawberries and kiwi -- on wooden skewers.

*Chill tea with ice cubes made from your favorite fruit juice, such as apple, grape, cranberry or orange.

*Serve iced tea in champagne flutes garnished with a citrus twist tiny champagne grapes.

For a copy of a booklet called "Tea Time," write "Tea Time, A Guide from Lipton to the Pleasures of Tea," P.O. Box 1100, Grand Rapids, Minn. 55745-1100.

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