Just Like Mom Sagan Used to Make...
Just Like Mom Sagan Used to Make If you missed seeing the entree, you can still buy the dessert. Halley’s comet has said its sayonaras and has begun its outbound 76-year odyssey, but a Los Angeles company is flogging the fastest of food to keep up with the speeding celestial event. Fresh from marketing its Trivial Pursuit fortune-cookie game, Guday Inc. is now peddling 24 ounces of comet-dusted spice cookies, in a “limited edition designer tin” (but naturally) painted with a depiction of a counter-clockwise, cookie-trailing Halley’s, a fanciful likeness that does more homage to artistry than to astronomy. “ The gourmet gift of 1986,” they vow (or perhaps of 2061 as well, the year the comet comes back, if this go-around’s Halley craze fades while souvenir merchandise--from Halley stock certificates to Halley track shoes--is still warehoused). With a suggested retail tag of $19.95 (after all, this is science ), the cookies in the six-inch tin join the meteor shower of Halleyana as an unlikely taste sensation to immortalize a cosmic visitor that up-close-and-personal camera work has shown to resemble “a burnt black potato.”
Fete Accompli Have cummerbund, will travel. Jack Farrell is Los Angeles’ professional party guest, that godsend-for-hire, the charming extra man. The New York-born former restaurateur--who promised himself at age 12 that he would never be stuck in a “nice, safe” nine-to-fiver--now finds himself a gentleman of the evening--or afternoon--hiring out his at-ease style as an ice-breaker for corporate parties and Hollywood dinners. “They hire caterers and rent the room,” Farrell says, “then they realize they have to go one step more to guarantee success"--to hire someone who can coax guests to enjoy themselves. “It takes a secure host to hire me.” Farrell, who demurs on only one subject, his age, says that after a few quick-study hours of cramming on guests and companies, he can captain more than 1,000 guests through an amusing evening. “These are structured, disciplined people; they hire me to break down the barrier so they can have good time.” Farrell scours the events columns and rings up the corporate party-givers to ask: “Is your hospitality suite reception effective? Are there a precious 45 minutes wasted at the beginning of any event?” It pays. Last year, Farrell trotted out one of his three black dinner jackets for more than 500 events, afternoon and evening, from corporate banquets to a dinner honoring Secretary of State March Fong Eu. He won’t leave the house for less than $300, and he won’t wear a powder-blue dinner jacket to match the decor. “It’s just not me ,” he says, shuddering. Conversation is art and business to this man who has several dogs but no TV or stereo. “I don’t waste a second to be shy. Shyness is the highest of conceits.”
Bread and Roses--and Hurry Epatant! Did Jean Valjean steal a loaf of sourdough bread? It seems that in addition to the chichi restaurants and cultural amenities on which San Francisco already prides itself as the Paris of North America, it has another City of Light touch--a tour of the city sewers. Clean Water Program director Todd Cockburn says that, since 1980, about 5,000 people have lined up for tours of San Francisco’s plants and spacious conduits. While Paris sends visitors through Valjean’s haunts on barges--for a fee of several francs--San Francisco’s is a gratis walk-and-ride. “Saturday mornings, it’s kind of like going to the zoo: ‘Let’s go to San Francisco and see the sewers,’ ” Cockburn says. Another American touch? Competition. A San Francisco woman who for years has provided guided tours to such unlikely attractions as cemeteries is, says Cockburn, giving them a run for their money, but her fees include a lunch sur les egouts .