Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1994 · Page 41
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 41

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Wednesday, May 11, 1994
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Page 41
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1 r? Vl PAVE DARRY JHttebunil) Wednesday, May 11, 1994 D-l THE DAILY Right here at the top, we here at The Daily want to tell you about the Race to the Top of Three Rivers Stadium, the Three Rivers Challenge to benefit the Leukemia Society at 6 tomorrow. Entry fee is $25 per person or $75 for a team of three quick-steppers ( 263-2873). Opening at 9 this morning and running through the weekend is the Pittsburgh Children's Festival on the North Side (321-5520). Yep, spring is here, 'cause, at 8, also opening a run (through June 12) at Hartwood Acres is Don Brockett's "Forbidden Pittsburgh '94" ($10, $12 or $14; 767-4738; order picnic baskets at 487-5241). Garden historian and writer Ellen Samuels, discusses Victorian landscaping, oses and other thorny . issues at 7: 1 5 at the Frick Art Museum in Point Breeze ($15, 371-0600). We here at The Daily never have met Amanda Cohen, but some of her writings have made us laugh. That's the idea behind the Susquehanna Hat Co., "Pittsburgh's newest and best comedy improv troupe," performing at 8 at the Funny Bone in . Monroeville ($5, 856-7888). At 8 at Graffiti, it's a metalfest with Crowbar, Ton A Bricks and Social Outcast ($10, 682-4212). At noon tomorrow at USX Auditorium, a World Affairs Council Noon Briefind on "Russian Organized Crime" ($2, 281-7970). INSIDE Sleuthing around Women take center stage as authors, gutsy heroines in a slew of new mystery thrillers. Page D-7. t' Judy Zarra serves members of Madder Rose, iMJSICA When bands play the Electric Banana in Oakland, they get more than applause and a paycheck. They get a home-cooked meal from Judy Zarra. By Suzanne Martinson Food Editor, Post-Gazette ri udy Zarra creates the I I food that fuels the jj J bands that play the CL rock at the Electric Banana. She also tends bar at the Banana. And books bands and does bookkeeping for the Oakland club her husband, Johnny, bought uMay 1970, just one month before they were married. Judy Zarra, the former go-go girl, just keeps on going, says her husband. "All my life I've had jobs where I had to be on my feet," she says with a sigh. "It seems like I never stop you'd think I'd be skinny." She was 19, he was 23, when Judy and Johnny met in the poolroom of what was then the Spotlight Lounge. He had seen her dancing on the back bar in her bare feet, a heart-stopping costume over a voluptuous figure, her long, wavy golden brown hair moving with the beat. "It's good I stopped dancing when I did," she says, her sense of humor forever unveiled. "The costumes kept getting skimpier and skimpier." Trends in the music business also change. The Zarras have gone from go-go to disco to bands. One thing hasn't changed though. "When the bands are Todos RHUBARB Rosy stalks plant versatility into delicious spring recipes By Betsy Kline Post-Gazette Staff Writer lthough technically a vegetable, 1 1 rhubarb dazzles in fruit compotes, O chutneysjams, pies and crisps. It L"wAgives some of its most memorable performances when co-starring with strawberries and tons of sugar in that favorite summer rerun strawberry-rhubarb pie. (Sigh, always second billing.) Rhubarb's versatility is often overlooked, but that's not surprising given that its acceptance as an edible anything is fairly recent. The earliest records of this member of the buckwheat family date back to ancient northern Asia and China. Its name, Rhabctr-barum, derives from "rha of the barbarians," rha being a river (today called Volga), along which it was Cultivated. Rhubarb's rosy stalks were cultivated in monastery and abbey gardens, mostly for.its roots, which were used medicinally as a purgative. It was the 1500s before it occurred to anyone to eat the plant. Unfortunately, they ate the wrong part. The leafy green tops, resembling chard, are toxic. Understandably, it was a while until gastronomes gave rhubarb another go. Today, we know better (we do, don't we?). Rhubarb purchased at a farmers' market may still nave its leafy tops intact. Grocery stores normally lop them off, and so should you. Hothouse rhubarb is pretty much available year-round, but its pretty pink blush is no match for the robust red, field-grown variety usually harvested April through May. Buy crisp, unblemished stalks and avoid wilted ones, Wrap stalks in a plastic bag and refrigerate as soon as you buy them. Use a New York City band, at the Electric Banana. on tour) they're hungry when they come in," says Judy. "He's my prep cook," laughs Judy, on this Friday afternoon up to her eyebrows in vegetarian lasagna, giant meatballs, eggplant 'Parmesan and cheesy garlic bread. A double-deck chocolate-white cake sits on the kitchen table, ready to be baked then frosted with that old favorite Seven-Minute Frosting. A gigantic salad is already chilling, and when the two bands arrive around 6, they'll find a feast only Mama could make. "They just don't eat right on the road," says Judy, sounding like the mother of two sons that she is. But let's be truthful here not many mamas can cook like Judy Zarra, who was born to the kitchen on a 50-acre farm near a little West Virginia village called Terra Alta "high altitude," she explains. This is a rich chocolate spice cookie that often finds way onto Judy Zarra's holiday plates. 3 teaspoons baking -powder Vi cup warm milk 12 cup chopped walnuts 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon lemon extract or Juice 514 cups flour 3 eggs 3 sticks butter 1 cup sugar 4 tablespoons honey V cup cocoa VM teaspoons cinnamon Vt teaspoons cloves Cream butter, eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add honey (grease the measuring spoon for easier handling), cocoa, seasonings, baking powder, flour, milk, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well. Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts. Stir in walnuts. (We doubled the walnuts and chilled ours first for easier handling.) If desired, glaze with powdered sugar frosting, which has been colored with food dye. Zarra uses powdered sugar, water and a dash of salt. Bake in 325-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutres. Judy Zarra Abundant sugar is needed to mask rhubarb's within a week. Or you can chop it up and freeze it for later use, according to food writer Jane Brody. It's hard to imagine a low-calorie rhubarb dish, since abundant sugar is required to mask its acidic bite. On the bright side, it is high in potassium, with fair amounts of calcium and iron, according to Brody's "Good Food Book." The Rhubarb Bread recipe is the closest ( 11 Joyce MendelsohnPost-Gazette Her father died when she was 6 and the eight kids pitched in to keep the family going. "My mother made everything," she recalls. "She canned, she made jelly, she raised chickens, she made butter and cottage cheese. When I was 10, 1 milked cows and I fed the cows and pigs. About the only thing my mother bought in town was flour and sugar." Her mother's baking never wavered in its appeal. Once, after the club had closed for the night, Johnny and Judy and another couple decided to take a trip to West Virginia. "Everyone was asleep, but we found a half-dozen pies on 1 the kitchen table," Johnny recalls. They dug in. - "I think we ate them all," Judy says. Despite the stellar cooking, it wasn't hard to choose the bright lights of Pittsburgh over Terra Alta and Judy's post-high school job in a processing plant a job she describes as "pulling turkey . guts." (It was a long time before she could face turkey again.) . "My sister's boyfriend asked me if I wanted to be a go-go dancer, but I didn't know what that was. When I found out it was dancing I ' thought it was something else I said yes because I SEE BANANA, PAGE D-2 its acidic bite. Recipes, Page D-3. we came to circumventing sugar shock the spices smooth the flavor. The luscious trio of raspberries, pear and rhubarb baked in a crisp is pure inspiration, happened upon in Marlene Sorosky's latest cookbook, "Entertaining on the Run." And we would be inviting a rhubarb if we neglected the classic Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. All recipes were kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette. TASTE You can tell a country f by its toilets ri rhen we try to name ; II the one thing that mes America great, w w we are forced to con- f elude that the answer is "quality of life," defined as "working toilets." We are blessed with the finest toi- let system in the world. When we go to a public place such as a shop- .. ping mall or restaurant, we know ' that we will find public restrooms meeting all the standards of the Federal Interstate Commode Quality Act, including: t Modern soap and paper-towel I dispensers designed to conserve i our planet's precious resources by always being out of soap and paper towels. ? Bad words that have been written on the walls by irresponsible, 4 antisocial, degenerate perverts who can be pretty funny. "J A sign that says "Employees must wash hands before leaving i restroom and also for goodness sake please stop spitting into the ; entrees." A person who has been in a g stall for at least two days making noises like walruses mating. I Also, sometimes, if prankish i youngsters have not stolen it or at-i tempted to flush a rental security guard down it, there will be a toilet that actually works. This is not the case elsewhere in the world. Ask anybody who travels a lot. In foreign countries, you constantly find yourself in scary situations involv-1 ing plumbing that was built thou- I ' sands of years ago by the ; Etruscans. These facilities are often guarded by very short, very i wide, very hostile women who , watch you like a hawk and expect you to tip them for tending the mold colonies and making sure the toilet paper is rigid enough to slice lun- cheon meat. Perhaps you believe I am over- ', stating the scariness of foreign toilets. Well, perhaps you should dig out your December 1993 issue of ; the Scottish Medical Journal. On page 185, you will find an article titled ;'The Collapse of Toilets in ; Glasgow." This article, which I am ': not making up, describes three " cases wherein people were injured "whilst sitting on toilets which unexpectedly collapsed." All three patients had to receive hospital treatment. The article describes the collaps-ing-toilet incidents in clinical terminology, which contrasts nicely with a close-up, full-face photograph, suitable for framing, of a hairy and hefty victim's naked wounded butt, causing you to think, for reasons that you cannot quite explain, of Pat Buchanan. "The cause of the toilet collapses remains unclear," states the Scottish Medical Journal, "except that all of the toilets were believed to be very old." (The article does not come right out and use the term "Etruscan," but we can read between the lines.) So my advice is: If you must go to a foreign country, go to the bath- ( room before you leave. Although I personally would stay right here in the United States, because we could be on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough in the form of get ready - a microwave toilet. I have here the May 26, 1993, issue of the Bloomsburg, Pa., Press-Enterprise: On the front page is a story about George Welliver, who is hoping to manufacture a toilet that would use microwaves to convert waste to ashes, thereby saving water. The article is accompanied by an artistic color photograph of Mr. Welliver sitting (fully dressed) on his bathroom commode, holding a microwave oven in his lap. The article quotes Welliver as saying that he originally considered a laser toilet, but decided against it. I think this was a wise decision. I'm sure I speak on behalf of guys everywhere when I say that I would not want to get any closer than about 50 feet from a laser-powered toilet, so accuracy would be a real . problem. But I think the microwave toilet is a great idea. In fact, I can foresee a day in the not-so-distant future when there would be one mujtipurr Eose microwave device in your : ome, which would automatically, ' at a pre-set time, load a frozen bur-ritointo itself, heat it up to serving . temperature, then switch over to Toilet Mode, incinerate the burrito", and whisk the ashes away without any human involvement whatsoever. That is the wonderful thing about this great country: The quality of life is constantly improving in ways that we cannot begin to comprehend without massive doses of Prozac, with each generation producing something new and amaz- ing. And then forgetting to flush. Dave Barry is a humor colum- ; nist for the Miami Herald.

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