That's life

Blue-ribbon dining

From Jericho, N.Y., to Yountville, Calif., Americans love to compete in cooking contests, whether the prize is a ribbon or $100,000. .

Now, many prize-winning recipes are available in "Red, White & Blue" (3-D Press), the first national collection of top entries from more than 200 contests nationwide. A virtual culinary tour of America, it offers both simple and sophisticated dishes.

Learn the secret to the Apple, Cheddar & Bacon Scones that claimed top honors in the bread category at the North Carolina Apple Fest. Savor Tree Huggin' Hippie Chili, which won the grand prize at the Great Petaluma Chili Cook-off.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

"Red, White & Blue 2004" provides the recipes and stories behind the contest winners, plus contact information for more than 175 festivals, cook-offs, and cooking contests.

Dive in to smart seafood

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California has released two regional pocket guides to "sustainable seafood." The guides rank the most popular seafood species found on menus and in markets in "Best Choices," "Proceed With Caution," and "Avoid" categories.

Among the "Best Choices" are farmed catfish, farmed caviar and crawfish, stone crab, wild-caught Alaska salmon, tilapia, and Pacific halibut. The "Avoid" lists include Atlantic and Icelandic cod, Chilean sea bass, grouper, Caribbean lobster, orange roughy, queen conch, swordfish, imported shrimp, red snapper, shark, and tilefish.

Both the guides can be downloaded and printed directly from the aquarium's website: www.montereybayaquarium.org.

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