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Printed Pringles

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WASHINGTON (AFP) -These new chips will be both edible and readable.

Procter and Gamble announced that its Pringles potato chips will include printed words and images in a "variety of colors."

The Cincinnati, Ohio consumer products giant said it was using a "revolutionary" technology for the designs, which will include "fun facts" and animal designs as well as questions and answers from the Trivial Pursuit game.

How about printing public service announcements instead...

A Jug & An Urn

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A couple have opened a "boutique crematorium" called Vermont Blessings at their 200 acre dairy farm in the southeastern Vermont town of Guilford. With ecomonic pressure on small farms rising, they have decided on a rather unique supplement to their business.

I can't help looking at another side of this. If these folks need to diversify their business in order to make ends meet, let's go all the way.

You see, it's sugar mapling time in Vermont now and this would bring a whole new meaning to "grandpa's maple syrup". Yup, just bring poor old grandpa and a few buckets of sap to Vermont Blessings (& Sugar Shack) and you could walk out with a jug and an urn. Nice way to remember him too, drizzled (not sprinkled) over your pancakes in the morning.

(Thanks to Michael P. for the heads-up on this.)

59 Years of Elbows

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I had breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner in Bennington this morning. The Blue Benn is a real one. That is, it�s a Silk City Diner built in 1945 and moved to Bennington in 1948. You walk in the door and there are maybe 6 booths and a long counter that is punctuated by the opening through which the staff bustles while serving the food. Folks used to suburban monstrosities that are all chrome and glass and the size of a roller-rink, with menus that read like War and Peace might be put off. It fit me like an old sweater.

As usual, it was filled with local regulars. The buzz of �Heya Joe, how�s the ice fishing going?� and �I�m late for work but I need another cup of coffee.� swirled around the room. Every conceivable space behind the counter was filled with plastic pockets holding signs for specials - �Gingerbread & Whipped Cream�, �Hungry Man Breakfast� and �Fresh Pies�. Being maybe 30 feet long and 12 feet wide, the intimacy envelopes you very quickly.

I swung my leg over a stool, sat down, and picked up a menu. As I looked down to pick my meal, I was immediately struck by the countertop. Now this top may or may not be the original but it sure looked it. It was covered in stainless steel and then a top layer of formica-type laminate. Over the years, thousands of folks like me have swung their legs over a stool for a meal. The evidence is there. In front of each and every stool there are two worn patches of laminate, right where your elbows land. Not just worn out, but completely worn away to five or six inches from the edge; smooth, contour map transitions from white to brown to shiny steel. They invite your elbows to settle in and get comfortable. They make you feel like you belong. They place you in 2004 and 1963 and 1948 all at the same time.

I was finishing up my bacon and eggs when the waitress dropped off the check. I mopped up the last of the yolks with my wheat toast and started to lean back to get up and pay the bill, but the counter called me back - to share one more cup of coffee with those 59 years of elbows.

trANCHO CHIP COOKIES

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For a long time I've had this idea about combining chili powder and chocolate to make a chocolate chip cookie. The idea is not original, chilies and chocolate are combined all the time in Mexico and other Latin American countries. For this experiment, I chose to add a fair amount of cinnamon, also a Mexican standard with chocolate. I only found one recipe while searching the web but it produced a flat, hard cookie not to my liking. I combined Nancy's favorite basic chocolate chip recipe (via The Best Recipe) with the ancho/cinnamon combo and came up with these.


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The result is a chewy cookie with the smoky spice from the ancho chilies, the zing of the freshly ground cinnamon, and good old chocolate. These are not spicy in a Mexican food sense. The ancho delivers more flavor than heat.

Here's the recipe:

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