Did you know that:
There are five claimants to the title of "first supermarket" in the United States.
*Cheerios were introduced in 1941, and were originally called Cheerioats.
*Hot dogs, peanut butter and ice cream were all introduced at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.
Those are the bits of information to be gleaned from "Can YoTrust a Tomato in January?" by Vince Staten (Simon & Schuster, $19), an entertaining look at every aspect of supermarket shopping, including how consumers are lured to buy certain foods. Mr. Staten's style is engaging and the book is full of trivia items, but there is also some good information about what goes on, on and behind the shelves.
Suzanne Tilson of Baltimore learned to cook just in the last three years, after marriage to her husband, Scott, and after taking a lot of cooking classes. So when she spotted the notice of an apple pie bake-off held as part of the All-Star Week RTC StreetFest, she hesitated to enter. But her husband encouraged her, so she did.
Before the contest she made four pies, trying to get one that was just right. "The fourth one was the one I used," she said.
She had picked the right one: Her pie won the grand prize in the contest sponsored by the Baltimore Office of Promotions.
"I feel really good," she said, "because I worked really, really hard, and it paid off."
Mrs. Tilson is 29, and now, she said, "I cook all the time. It's my favorite thing to do."
Other winners in the contest were Sandra Potter, of Cambridge, second place, and Ethel Lambert, of Baltimore, third place.
Here is Mrs. Tilson's recipe:
FOR THE CRUST (see note):
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg yolks, beaten
8 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup hot water
8 tablespoons margarine
2 teaspoons lemon juice
FOR THE FILLING:
8 tart apples, such as Granny Smith
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of salt
3 tablespoons margarine
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Cut in shortening. Pour hot water over margarine and stir until melted. Cool. Add to mixture. Add lemon juice and egg yolks. Stir in dry ingredients. Form into two flat disks and chill.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel apples and cut into thin slices. Combine sugar, flour, spices and salt. Mix in large bowl with apples.
Roll out one crust to fit a 9-inch pie pan, with a little left over to hang over the sides. Fill with apple mixture. Melt margarine and sprinkle 2 tablespoons over filling. Roll out top crust and place on top. (Or cut into strips and create lattice top.) Trim excess crust and crimp crusts together. Brush top with remaining margarine and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Note: Pie crust should be made ahead so it can chill several hours before filling is added.
What's the newest item on the salad bar? Hint: It's 3 1/2 inches wide, gray and crisp. Very crisp. Rigid, in fact. Doesn't sound like food? You're right. It's a computer disk.
The disk, called "Building a Better Salad: Good News at the Top!" comes from Thomas J. Lipton, makers of Wish-Bone Healthy Sensation salad dressings. It was designed by a team of computer experts and dietitians to help home chefs incorporate the latest USDA dietary recommendations into their meals.
The program, based on the new USDA food pyramid, creates an on-screen salad with the click of a mouse button, and calculates the nutritional value of the items chosen. More than 16 millions combinations of items are possible. The final "salad" selection can be printed out and includes a personalized recommendation for fat intake based on the user's weight.
The program requires an IBM-compatible running MS-DOS version 3.3 or higher, a VGA graphics card, a Microsoft-compatible mouse, a 3 1/2 -inch floppy drive and a hard drive with at least three megabytes of space free.
For a free copy of the program, send your name and address to Wish-Bone Healthy Sensation Dressings Computer Disk Offer, P.O. Box 1246, Grand Rapids, Minn. 55745-1246.
*Sacramento Pre-Pak Produce Planner, a newsletter of the produce industry, says in its July 12 issue that the main problem for the nation's produce supplies in the wake of flooding in the Midwest will be transportation. Delays are likely to leave the East Coast struggling for some items, it notes.
*Edy's Grand Ice Cream is seeking ideas for new flavors from the public. Suggestions must include a description of the flavor, ingredients and a suggested name. Send each entry with name, address and telephone number to Fantasy Flavor Search, Edy's Grand Ice Cream, 5929 College Ave., Oakland, Calif. 94618. Entries must be postmarked before Aug. 13. Fifteen finalists will participate in a taste-off and will win a year's supply of ice cream.
*As part of the "Maryland with Pride" program, the state has published a directory of businesses that specialize in gift baskets. The free guide is expected to be the first of a series of topical directories of Maryland businesses. For a copy, call (410) 333-6995.
Tidbits welcomes interesting nuggets of food news -- new products, food-related news events, local cookbooks, mail-order finds, openings and closings of restaurants and food shops.
Send press releases to Tidbits, Attn.: Karol V. Menzie, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.