Food Stuff 

Morel guidance — For fungus-lovers, springtime means more than the return of long days and migrating birds: It's hunting season — for morels, that is. Don't know how to find one? That won't stop you for enjoying the hunt: A group of morel fiends are putting together a "Morels and More" weekend around Springbrook Hills, not far from Petoskey. The organizers promise fun, fine wine and good food. But there will also be guided morel hunting, wild mushroom lore and the opportunity to meet people who enjoy nature and the outdoors. Outings are May 4-6, May 11-13 and May 18-20. Cost is steep ($179 per person, including lodging, guided hunt and all meals), so start saving those pennies now. For more details, write to Morels & More, P.O. Box 219, Walloon Lake, MI 49796, call 231-535-2227, or e-mail

Border crossings — On the last Wednesday of every month, Ferndale's Josephine Creperie and Bistro brings the flavors of different French-influenced cuisines to the table for a five-course, fixed-price dinner. Reservations are being accepted for their next Wednesday event, featuring the cuisine of Italy's Piedmont region, on the French border. The evening's menu includes such entrée choices as lamb shank ossobuco, sautéed trout Piemontese and wild mushroom risotto. Dessert choices are ricotta strudel with berry coulis and chocolate amaretto custard. At 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-399-1366; $28 per person, not including tax, tip or beverage; various seating times; call for reservations.


Eat the Page

There may not be one definitive expert on Southern cooking, but James Villas is certainly in the running. Villas considers the foods of the American South to be on par with French or Italian home cooking. In this, his latest, The Glory of Southern Cooking (Wiley $34.95), chapters cover cocktail and tea foods, soups, chowders, gumbos, rice and grits, cornbread, biscuits and hush puppies. Villas also provides helpful sections on equipment, ingredients, special cooking techniques and even a rundown of mail-order sources for specialized Southern foodstuffs.

A Tasty Beverage

The moment we sensed winter's demise we began to plan a back yard gathering of friends. When there are lots of glasses to fill, we want a wine as easy to drink as it is cheap. With delightful aromas of pear and citrus, a clean, tart flavor, a wee bit of fizz for body, and a price tag under $5, René Barbier Mediterranean White is it. There are no glossy ads for it in your favorite lifestyle magazine. It's not vintage-dated. It's a blend of three grape varietals you probably can't pronounce. Yet it will still be gulped with gusto at your next party.

It Works

Do you find that a knife blade is not the best way to transport diced and chopped ingredients from the cutting board to the skillet? The mess has ended. The prep taxi, a stainless steel "scoop," will hold 3 cups of meats and vegetables, making the task a one step process, eliminating the floor cleanup that so often is necessary when the food falls off the blade (unless you have a dog, that is). Costing less than $10, this dishwasher-safe device is perfect for handling minced herbs and grated cheese too.

Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send materials two weeks in advance to

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