Jambalaya for Mardi Gras
If you can't make it to the Big Easy next week, you can still celebrate Mardi Gras with a taste of New Orleans.
Zatarain's, a company that has been making New Orleans-style food for 100 years, has more than 200 products, including a mix of rice and spices that can put jambalaya on your table in a half-hour.
The mix costs between $1.49 and $1.69 and is available in most supermarkets. You add sausage and chicken or vegetables and seafood.
For more information, visit www.zatarain.com.
New gig for rappers
Move over, Chester Cheetah. The cartoon character featured on bags of Chee-tos has competition from rap stars like Mack 10, Master P and Lil Romeo.
RapSnacks, a joint venture between Universal Records and a Philadelphia potato-chip company, offers bags of corn chips, potato chips and popcorn with the images of famous hip-hop stars.
Among the selections are Lil Romeo Bar-B-Quin With Honey, Pastor Troy Hot Cheezie Popcorn and Warren G Cheezie Nacho. A box of 48 bags costs $9.99 at www.rapsnacks.com.
Cooking in the yard
If you love to cook outdoors, or if you're looking for a way to spend the tax refund, take a look at Frontgate's Evo Flattop Grill.
The grill lets you cook almost anything - pizza, stir-fried vegetables, pasta and sauces - while enjoying the fresh air. Food can be cooked on the solid-steel flattop surface or inside cookware placed on the grill. The Evo Grill is made of heavy-gauge stainless steel and has two independent concentric burners that can heat from 250 degrees to 630 degrees.
The grill (either propane or natural gas) costs $2,495 and is available at Frontgate, 800-626-6488 or www.frontgate.com.
Bigger over the years
Nutritionists are still debating why Americans have become so heavy over the past few decades, but one thing is clear: Portion sizes in restaurants and packaged foods have increased drastically.
In this month's issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers studied how the size of food products has grown. A Hershey's milk chocolate bar, for example, weighed 0.6 ounces when it was introduced in 1908. Today the smallest bar is 1.6 ounces. A bottle of Coca-Cola was 6.5 ounces when introduced in 1916. Today the smallest serving is 8 ounces.
For more information about ADA and the study, visit www.eatright.org.
Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Wine Source will hold a wine tasting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Gertrude's, 10 Art Museum Drive. The tasting will feature wines of Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. $35 a person. Call 410-467-7777 for tickets.
Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant, 8293 Main St., Ellicott City, will hold cooking classes and wine seminars for four Saturdays starting this week with a class on game cooking. Cost is $67.50 per class and reservations are required. Call 410-465-4004.
Taste sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon wines at Donna's at Cross Keys from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. $10 for a flight of four wines. Call 410-532-7611 or 410-377-9599 for information.
Restaurateur Bill Bagdasian will teach a noncredit course on "How to Start and Operate a Catering Business" from 6 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, March 3 to March 12, at Anne Arundel Community College's Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute, 7438 Governor Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie. $85. To register, call 410-777-2958.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 720 Aliceanna St., will offer a four-course winemaker dinner featuring wines of Washington at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. $70 per person. Call 410-332-1666 for reservations.