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Snacks by Marcy Smothers serves up bites of useful food trivia and tips


A roundup of information even foodies will find new and useful, plus easy recipes all presented in humorous format make Snacks like a bag of chips—you can’t stop at one.

SONOMA, Calif., July 2013—From ‘food traffic controller” to author to radio host with Guy Fieri, Marcy Smothers can now add author to her name by way of her new book SNACKS, Adventures in Food, Aisle by Aisle. A compilation of food trivia, anecdotes and recipes, (many culled from her radio show), Snacks is a fun read because it’s divided into snack-size segments and because the material is presented in an entertaining way.

Her moniker “Food traffic controller” came from a friend because when dining out with girlfriends she tended to take over the ordering for everyone. Her propensity to talk, which includes giving advice, paid off when she was offered a position on KRSO, a local News/Talk show in Sonoma County.

Smothers shared how she gathered so much useful information. “I consider myself insatiably curious. When I was producing the Food Guy and Marcy Show, I was reading and researching constantly. I would find a topic or a person that intrigued me and our producer would book the guest. Often times in the middle of an interview, I would be furiously writing notes while we were on air, ensuring I would recall the guest's tidbit.”

For SNACKS, Smothers did additional research including two weeks at the CIA in Hyde Park, cheese conferences, farmers markets and food festivals. “My tendency to talk to everyone and ask questions leads to a surprise tip or two. (Just last week the clerk at the post office told me to use duck eggs when baking because they are bigger and richer than chicken eggs.)”

Each segment has a catchy title such as “Thin is not in.” She explains that fat asparagus have more flavor and are less stringy than the thin ones.

Read to find out why fresh artichokes squeak and then try her recipe for grilled artichokes.

Find out how to keep vegetables colors true when cooking —cook green vegetables uncovered, but cover white and red vegetables. Orange and yellow can go either way.

Ever pick up frozen vegetables when you’re in a hurry? You have the Eskimos and Arctic explorer Clarence Birdseye to thank for the convenience. He watched the natives flash-freezing freshly caught fish and noted the just-like-fresh quality it preserved. He applied the practice to vegetables and by 1926 we had frozen vegetables with taste, appearance and texture close to fresh.

Find out how to tenderize your meat, the difference between Russian and Thousand Island dressing and what to do with leftover pizza boxes. Learn how to soothe a burned tongue (hint: something better than cool water).

Her recipes, as befits a mom of two young children, tend to be easy and utilize products such as cake mixes (mousse cake), tater tots (a fast, delicious way to latkes) or a can of tomato soup (soupwiches).

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