Spam, that quivery quasi-meat, needs a support group. In a list of 1997 bests and worsts in the food world recently, the Arizona Republic zeroed in on the Jell-O-like pink substance as top contender for "worst recipe."
The winning (or
losing) recipe came from Spam's national recipe contest, which
"always provides a good candidate," according to the Republic. This
year the Spam people went upscale with an elegant puff pastry
containing "julienned Spam lite luncheon meat." Marginally yummier
and also a contender for worst food combo was a recipe dreamed up
by supermodel Kathy Ireland, a spokeswoman for prunes. Her recipe
welcomed turkey, yogurt, mustard, celery, green onions and prunes,
all stuffed into a pita. "A package of prunes in the dressing room
helps many keep up with Tinseltown's pace," says her press release.
Reporter Judy Walker suggests a "90s message for a new corporate
fortune cookie: "You are downsized. Enjoy this with your coffee as
you clean out your desk." Contestants for worst cookbook were too
numerous to mention, she adds, but runners-up include Cooking with
Prozac by Robin Cohn, which focuses on soup and desserts. She can't
do vegetables, says the author, because they remind her "of the
state she was in before Prozac." Another close contender was
InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook. As for the worst press
release, this come-on took the prize: "You regularly clean your
skin, hair and teeth ... but when was the last time you cleaned
Believe it or
not, but the Colorado weekly, Westword, reports that last year,
after a bear broke into a home in suburban Denver and planted
himself on a couch in the living room, a teenage boy entered the
room and said, "Hey, Dad," before realizing the furry couch potato
was not his father. "The bear then grabbed a plum from the fruit
bowl and left." In a (possibly) unrelated incident, another bear
was seen leaving a home south of Denver "with a tortilla in his
As 1997 lurched to a close, a fight in
South Dakota over religious expression on state property turned
tense. Or perhaps ironic. It all depends on how you read Gov. Bill
Janklow, who announced he was prepared to go to court to keep a
nativity scene on display in the state capitol. "We're entitled as
South Dakotans to have our capitol reflect the unique culture of
the people of South Dakota, and part of that is different kinds of
religions, and frankly, part of that is some people that don't
believe in religion, and I always leave a space for them," he told
AP. "We always have a corner in the capitol that has nothing in it
for those people that don't believe in anything."
Driving toward Bozeman,
Mont., recently, an off-duty sheriff's deputy briefly added an
unexpected passenger to his van. A 150-pound deer suddenly jumped
through the backseat window - its head came completely inside -
before bouncing out. "If the deer had jumped a split second before,
it would have landed on my (11-year-old) daughter," said Dan Wertz.
"We were big-time lucky." Another wildlife note: Montana's Hungry
Horse News reports that an "opportunistic" grizzly near Glacier
National Park ripped into a logging slash pile, entered a den where
a black bear lay hibernating; then ate the bear, which was probably
drugged by its winter sleep.
Piloting a helicopter as low as 100 feet above the ground, security
officers for the Central Arizona Project eyeball 336 miles of canal
as it crosses Arizona. "I was looking down at the filtering screen
on one of our sluice gates," said one officer. "The screen was
clogged with tumbleweeds. One of them had legs." A dead body is
unusual; more routine are vehicles, dead animals and marijuana
plants all floating along in water diverted from the Colorado
River. On one daily run from Phoenix to Havasu, canal patrollers
helped police pull up more than 300 pot plants, leaving behind a
handwritten note as consolation: "No, you weren't ripped off. We
have your plants," reports the Arizona
talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, cows now face an opponent in the U.S.
Senate. But Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin isn't bad-mouthing burgers, he's
after the waste that pre-burger cattle leave behind. Gannett News
reports that cow pies add up to millions of tons a year, and
Harkin, a Democrat, says the "lagoons' that store the sludge are
particularly a problem. At 20 feet deep and a half-mile wide,
lagoons full of manure can create a "dead zone" if they
Sometime back in that
bygone year of 1997 we asked readers for suggestions for "privy
readings," those pithy bits of mountain lore, poetry or stirring
sentiments to while away a buggy interlude in a confined space.
Installment number one comes from writer Ted Williams, who swears
the following are English subtitles used in films made in Hong
"I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this
"Same old rules: no eyes, no groin."
"A normal person wouldn't steal pituitaries."
"Take my advice, or I'll spank you without
"Yah-hah, evil spider woman! I have
captured you by the short rabbits."
aimlessly if you don't come out!'
inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?"
"You daring lousy guy."
can you use my intestines as a gift?"
you the nerve to get killed here?"
favorite: "You always use violence. I should've ordered glutinous
Heard around the West
invites readers to get involved in the column. Send any tidbits
that merit sharing - small-town newspaper clips, personal
anecdotes, relevant bumpersticker slogans. The definition remains
loose. Heard, HCN, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428 or