BITES : You've Come a Long Way

Here we are at another candy anniversary. This year is the 75th anniversary of the Baby Ruth bar, which has been made in Chicago since 1921. The peanut, nougat, caramel and chocolate confection was originally a nickel a bar, at a time when other bars were a dime. During the Depression, the company actually brought out a half-sized bar for a penny.

Hey, that's a bit of Baby Ruth trivia. And from July through September, more such trivia will come with every Baby Ruth bar (inside the collectible anniversary wrapping).

Higher, Faster, Tastier

Louis Ferretti, senior executive chef for the 1996 Olympic Games, has worked on five Olympics, and this year's Games, with almost 11,000 athletes participating, will be his largest ever. By the end of the 33 days (including warm-ups), he'll have served more than 5 million meals.

If you want to ask him any questions about what he serves, how he sets up a dining facility on the Olympic scale or anything else, he'll be interactive on America Online tonight at 7: keyword eGG. At the same site (electronic Gourmet Guide), you can download some of the recipes served to this international crowd--scaled down to non-Olympic servings, of course.

My Dinner With Rover

"Wild About Dogs I" is an instructional video about how to cook for your dog--dog biscuits, even birthday cakes--and chow down alongside. The recipes are edible for humans and have been created, the producers say, "so that dog and owner can share a meal together without worrying about the harmful side effects of indiscriminate table scraps."

The video includes some great comic footage about dogs, including reluctant pooches having their teeth brushed for the first time, and more serious talks with canine nutritionist Dorothy Sherry and David Nielson, "Hollywood's doggy dentist."

It's $11.95 plus $4.50 shipping. To order, send a check to Wild About Animals Video Productions, 4724 Lincoln Blvd., Suite 321, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, or call (800) 471-4778.

Go for the Blue!

Did you know the San Fernando Valley has a country fair? (I didn't, and I'm a Val born and raised.) This year is actually the 50th anniversary of the annual Valley Fair, administered by California's 51st District Agricultural Assn. since 1946.

It's a link to the days when the San Fernando Valley was a major produce-growing area. There'll be the usual country fair attractions--bull- and horse-riding exhibitions, square dancing, livestock auction, petting zoo and carnival rides--plus a couple of bows to the reality of today's San Fernando Valley, such as an interactive aerospace exhibit from NASA.

The fair also features a contest for the ultimate pastry. "Some of the most commercially successful pastries in world," points out Dale Coons, general manager of the 51st District Agricultural Assn., "began as original recipes created by ordinary people who entered their unique handiwork at a fair, where they wound up winning the Blue Ribbon Award and the attention of national companies that are constantly searching for new and exciting creations." If you're interested in submitting your original pastry recipe, contact the Home Arts Department of the Valley Fair, (818) 373-4500.

The fair runs from today through Sunday at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, 480 Riverside Drive, Burbank. Admission is $5 for adults; free for children 11 and younger. Today it opens at 4 p.m., Friday at noon and Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.; it closes every night at 10:30 p.m.

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