S'more fun for all With picnics and campfires on the horizon, we're rather dazzled by the accessories offered by Rome Industries, based out of Illinois. Cleverest of the lot is the Marshmallow Tree, a coated steel wire that's bent and welded to look like a branch. It can hold up to 10 marshmallows, and could also accommodate some hot dogs. The company also sells pie irons (sort of a waffle iron on a stick), campfire-safe popcorn poppers, a s'more basket, and other cast iron accoutrements. For ordering info, or store locations, visit www.pieiron.com.

 

COCH on the patio

Cooks of Crocus Hill stores are hosting a Patio Prep Event May 21 to prime the rumored arrival of the summer grilling season. There will be $10 mini cooking classes about grilling from noon to 2 p.m., and about salsas and sangrias from 4-5 p.m. The education comes with samples of the class fare, but also iced teas, smoothies, and homemade ice cream. To register for classes, visit the website store.cooksofcrocushill.com. Stores are at 877 Grand Av. in St. Paul, and 3925 W. 50th St. in Edina.

Sticking with an idea

Speaking of cookbooks, we haven't critiqued the recipes, but the concept of "On a Stick!" (Quirk, $16.95) is dear to our hearts. Los Angeles blogger Matt Armendariz features 80 ways to skewer your appetizers, entrees and desserts. Cheesecake, deep-fried hard-boiled eggs, veggies -- it's not reinventing the wheel, but if you've ever dreamed of opening a stand at the Minnesota State Fair, consider this a brainstorming guide.

She takes the cake

Plymouth baker Marie Porter caught our eye last year with her first cookbook, "The Spirited Baker: Intoxicating Desserts and Potent Potables," combining booze and baked goods. She's only slightly more restrained this year with "Evil Cake Overlord: Ridiculously Delicious Cakes" (Celebration Generation, $16.99) with recipes for Chai Spice Cake (touted in Rachael Ray's magazine) and striking marbled cakes (strawberry-mango?), but also for a wedding cake custom-made for a video game-playing couple flavored with Red Bull energy drink. While no longer making custom cakes, Porter teaches decorating classes and does cake design consultation. To order the book, or learn more, visit www.celebration generation.com. It's also at Common Good Books in St. Paul.

KIM ODE