At last week’s International Assn. of Culinary Professionals convention in Chicago, a gathering of more than 1,500 cookbook authors, chefs, cooking teachers and others.

*Kids in the Kitchen. It’s a growing trend. Not only are they watching Emeril on the Food Network (from Bam Bam to Bam!), they are a niche target audience for cookbook publishers and cooking schools. Suggested textbook: Marion Cunningham’s “Cooking With Children” (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995).

*Chefs as Authors. Yes, chef recipes can be hard to cook, but the chefs--or at least their ghosts--are getting better at writing realistic recipes. Even the cookbook-as-souvenir genre can be useful for inspiration. Think of the recipes in Charlie Trotter’s cookbooks as the culinary equivalent of a Chanel collection--beautiful but unattainable by mere mortals.


*Color. Instead of redoing their whole kitchens, people are painting or simply changing the color of their KitchenAids. Muted greens, golds and blues (slouching toward lavender) are in now, but the next big color to hit in kitchen equipment will be red, says a Williams-Sonoma insider. Don’t give up your pale hues yet if you’ve just repainted; the subtle shades will be with us for a while.

*She Was Robbed. The buzz after the presentation of the Julia Child Cookbook Awards: How could Claudia Roden’s “The Book of Jewish Food,” a finalist in two categories, not have won an award?

*Big Bowls Across America. Chicago restaurateur Richard Melman’s Big Bowl concept, recently revamped by Northern California Chinese food expert Bruce Cost, is getting ready to go national. With our many pho noodle shops and Asian noodle restaurants like Noodle World in the San Gabriel Valley, we’re ahead of the curve here in Southern California.

*A New Leaf. Cookbook author Jessica Harris announced a campaign to eliminate the term “kaffir” lime leaf from recipes. The word “kaffir” is highly offensive to black Africans; the term persists because that’s how the leaves, commonly used in Thai cooking, are sold in markets. Several cookbook writers and editors discussed alternatives. Bad idea: Flavorful lime leaf. (Aren’t all lime leaves flavorful?) Better idea: Thai or Southeast Asian lime leaf.