Satisfying your curiosity If you have a question about cooking, chances are The Kitchen Answer Book (Capital Books Inc., 2002, $22.95) by Hank Rubin has the answer.
Rubin, a former wine critic with the San Francisco Chronicle, arranges his question-and-answer book mainly by food category, such as meat, vegetables and seafood, although there are separate chapters on baking and utensils.
Here are 5,000 answers to questions ranging from how to use tap water to the amount of fat in pork sausage. An index in the back of the book helps locate the answers you're looking for.
The book is available in bookstores and online booksellers.
Fond of fondue
What could be more romantic than fondue on a cool, fall evening? Trudeau Corp. has created a fondue set that lets you dip and enjoy your entire meal, including meats, cheeses and dessert.
The secret is the set contains three interchangeable cooking pots - a copper-plated stainless-steel pot for meats and vegetables, a stoneware casserole for melting cheeses and a smaller stoneware casserole for chocolate and other dessert fondues.
Trudeau 3N'1 Fondue set is available at housewares and department stores for a suggested retail price of $79.99. For more information, visit www.trudeaucorp.com.
A new oil pours forth
Just when you think the grocery-store shelves cannot possibly hold another cooking oil, the Republic of Tea has introduced something truly different - tea oil.
This mild-flavored oil is pressed from the seeds of the tea plant. It contains less saturated fat than olive oil and its flash point of 485 degrees makes it ideal for sauteing seafood, poultry or meat. It also can be used as a base for marinades and sauces or tossed into salads.
Imperial Republic Tea Oil is available in 17-ounce tins for $14 and 30-ounce tins for $22. It is available at natural- and specialty-food stores or by calling 800-298-4832.
Gator on a plate
Think of Florida food products and you probably think of oranges and grapefruits. But the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is publicizing another homegrown food - alligator meat.
Once a protected species, alligators now are plentiful, thanks to conservation and farm-raising. According to the department, the meat has a fine, light-grained texture that many people say tastes like, yes, chicken.
For more information, recipes or to find an alligator meat vendor, visit www.fl-alligator.com.
Cookbook authors and local chefs will demonstrate their culinary talents at the Baltimore Book Festival Friday through Sunday at Mount Vernon Place, 600 N. Charles St. Among those participating will be Claudia Bishop, author of Just Desserts, Aliza Greens, author of Ceviche! , and Mitchell Davis, author of The Mensch Chef. For a schedule of appearances, call 877-BALTIMORE or visit www.promotionandarts.com.
Learn to roast vegetables with chef Glenn May from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Saturday at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. $25. At 6 p.m. Sunday, Blue Agave owner Michael Marx will teach a class on preparing sauces. $55. For information on these and other classes, or to make reservations, call 410-539-8600.
Boordy Vineyards' Susan Daniel will discuss choosing wines at 7 p.m. today at the Cockeysville Library, 9833 Greenside Drive. The event is free. For information, call 410-887-7750.
Enjoy oyster dishes and sauvignon blanc wines from around the world from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 2 at Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. Oct. 2. $35. To purchase tickets, call 410-889-3399.
Learn to prepare a lunch or dinner with local seafood in the Sicilian style 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Donna's Cafe in Cross Keys. $45. For information or reservations, call 410-659-5248, Ext. 112.