December 12, 1994 12:00 PM


Did you know that there are 100,000 taste buds on the surface of a catfish tongue? That the largest clam on record weighed 750 pounds? That a teaspoon of dry sugar may halt the hiccups? Well, now you do, thanks to Chalmer’s Almanac, subtitled A Feast of Facts from A to Z. This snappy volume brims with such arcana, along with recipes, notes on preparing, serving and storing; booklists and mail-order sources; health tips; and odd bits of lore. Whether you’re curious about what keeps a Twinkie fresh (a combination of additives including sodium stearyl lactylate and calcium caseinate), looking for just the right edible term of endearment (how about honey-bun, sweetie-pie or my little cabbage?) or grazing for obscure stats to impress your date (Americans eat 90 acres of pizza per day), this is the source. From subjects as diverse as Animal Rights and Aphrodisiacs to Yogurt and ZZZ-Bed-time Snacks, Chalmers’ Almanac has enough ingredients to satisfy the pickiest food fan. (Collins, $25)

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