Ambassador Asbell

Robin Asbell wears many hats: chef, cookbook author, teacher, food blogger and more. Now she can add ambassador to that list. Asbell is one of 20 bloggers from across the country chosen as a whole grain ambassador for Whole Grain Sampling Day on April 2. The event, sponsored by the Boston-based Whole Grains Council, is designed to showcase whole grains in settings from Dunkin' Donuts and Google cafeterias to supermarkets. But you can find your own whole grain recipes on the council's website,, or check out Asbell's advice in her "The New Whole Grain Cookbook: Terrific Recipes Using Farro, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Barley, and Many Other Delicious and Nutritious Grains" (Chronicle Books, 2007). Whole grain consumption increased 23 percent from 2008 to 2010. Next Wednesday, look for Asbell to be blogging with tips, recipes and maybe even offering some giveaways at

Learn more about food

Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville is hosting a Community Food Day on April 5 to offer information about nurturing a healthy, sustainable and organic local food network. The event is a free, family-friendly, informational conference and exhibition, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Minnesota Valley YMCA, 13850 Portland Av. S. in Burnsville. The keynote speaker will be organics expert Jim Riddle, who has served on the USDA National Organic Standards Board and shaped current USDA organic certified regulations. He'll present summaries of recent research on the benefits of organic foods and farming, and discuss genetically engineered crops. For the event schedule, visit

TeaSource triumphs

Congratulations to TeaSource, a top tea retailer in the Twin Cities with more than 225 loose-leaf teas. It claimed two victories in the recent North American Tea Championships. Its Ceylon Lumbini Estate, Burning Sun, FBOPF won first place in the breakfast blend category, and its Jim Jun Mei won first place in the black tea category. TeaSource has retail locations in St. Anthony, Eden Prairie and St. Paul. Tuesdays and Thursdays are sample days, with five 5-ounce cups of tea for $3.50. For more information, visit

Can you fondue?

We're giving you a heads-up here just in case it may take a little time to remember where you stored that old fondue pot. National Cheese Fondue Day is April 11, celebrating that particular blend of cheeses, wine and seasonings into which chunks of crusty bread and vegetables are dipped. One manufacturer of ready-made fondue, Emmi Roth USA, offers a few tips for success, such as: "It is polite to make one to two small swirls before removing your food," and "Resist the urge to double dip. Food that has been bitten should never return to the communal pot," and "A moment on the lips is frowned upon. Your fondue fork or skewer should never directly touch your mouth. Transfer your food to your plate before indulging." Now you know. And good luck with the hunt. You might just decide to keep the pot handy.