Food bites

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Torres says chocolate both magical, versatile

CHICAGO -- Pastry chef Jacques Torres says chocolate is both a magical and versatile product.

"So many people do so many different things with it," says Torres, who recently launched the television series, "Chocolate with Jacques Torres" on the Food Network. You can drink chocolate or use it in everything from cakes to ice cream, cookies to pies and even souffles.

"Everyone loves chocolate, from the very young to old people. Smiles appear in faces. That, to me, is very magical," says Torres, interviewed shortly before the recent opening of the "Chocolate" exhibition at the Field Museum of Chicago.

Torres, who opened Jacques Torres Chocolate retail shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., last year, has his personal favorites.

"I love to pair chocolates with fruits," he says. "We do some passion-fruit chocolates here that have some big success." His chocolate corn flakes also are a hit with his customers and among the recipes he prepares on his Food Network show.

Peanuts have significant profile in history of food

ATLANTA -- They not only have crunch, but historical echoes in their background.

The peanut profile includes:

The peanut is not a nut. It's a legume related to beans and lentils.

The peanut plant originated in South America.

As early as 1500 B.C., the Incas of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and entombed peanuts with mummies to sustain the deceased in their spiritual life after death.

Peanuts are cholesterol free.

There are four types of peanuts grown in the United States: Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia.

The peanut growth cycle from planting to harvest is about five months.

Peanuts are planted after the last frost in April.

The peanut plant produces a small yellow flower.

-- From wire reports

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