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A Nice Tomato and Literature Salad

They’ll be cooking the books at the West Hollywood Community Center next month. The event is the fifth annual International Edible Book High/Low Tea in which artist/chefs (and daring spectators) munch on literature made of food materials.

“Its a chance to combine our two favorite subjects: eating and creating,” said artist Lisa Deutsch. She plans to produce a paean to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” with her chef/brother. (No need to mention what the chief ingredient will be.)

Last year, when the event was held at the Long Beach Library, spectators were forbidden to sample the concoctions for liability reasons.

But West Hollywood is not as nervous about the April 3 event.

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“We’re not serving anything iffy,” Deutsch said, citing salmon mousse as one verboten offering. But she added that the consuming of books, which begins at 2, will end promptly at 4. “We don’t want the food to sit too long.”

Ah, yes, the nightmare of every writer -- going stale.

Edible books (cont.): Past entrants include Jeff Becker of Boulder, Colo., who created a doughy salute to beer (see photo).

To sample others, visually at least, you may go to the website at www.colophon.com/ ediblebooks/ photos.html.

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Something inedible? Ken McArthur noticed a restaurant that seemed to have something for attorneys on the menu (see accompanying).

From lawyers to the IRS: I’m really spoiling your appetite, aren’t I?

Anyway, just to bolster your confidence in that beloved government agency, I enclose a note that a reader received (see accompanying). As I’ve said before, if taxpayers can be penalized for mistakes, why can’t tax collectors?

Unreal estate: “I know the trend is for more luxurious bathrooms,” wrote Gai Jones, “but this?” (see accompanying).

Deflated: When two of L.A.'s freeway interchanges were named the busiest in the nation recently, columnist John Bogert of the Daily Breeze whimsically noted the fact that they bore no catchy nicknames.

After all, Orange County has junctions called the Orange Crush and the El Toro Y, phrases that have become so institutionalized they’re mentioned on Auto Club maps.

But the nation’s busiest, the 101/405 interchange in Sherman Oaks, and fifth-busiest, the 405/10 in West L.A., carry no snappy monikers. And with all the publicists in town.

On behalf of all Angelenos, I demanded an explanation for this sorry situation from Jim Thornton, the KNX radio traffic meister. Thornton pointed out that he had to be careful not to confuse motorists in traffic-clogged L.A. County, especially people new to the area, with jokey terms.

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But where a handy pun works, he’ll throw it in. Thus, he’ll sometimes call the East L.A. Interchange -- the junction of the 5, 10, 60 and 101 freeways -- “The Beast” L.A. Interchange or the “East Delay” Interchange.

And he promised to look into something for that newly crowned junction in the Valley. “I dunno,” he said, “maybe something about San Fernando valet.”

miscelLAny: For our mondegreen of the day, Jerry Pointak of Canoga Park writes: “Over 40 years ago, when I was a kid just starting my record collection, my favorite song was ‘Only the Lonely,’ by Roy Orbison. But until my mother corrected my singing, I really did think it was ‘Only Bologna.’ ”

Hey, how about an edible record event?

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712 and by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012.


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