How's this for a movie script title: "Great American Food Fight!"

Possible Scenario, Plan A: Any elementary school cafeteria. Cast: Any combination of fourth-grade boys and girls. Action: Grapes, raisins or peanuts shooting from one tray to another.Possible Scenario, Plan B: Any family dinner table. Cast: Impatient teenage boy and persistently annyoing younger sister. Action: Any movable food transferred to sister's glass of milk.

Possible Scenario, Plan C: Any county fair. Cast: Any member of Larry Miller's championship fast-pitch softball team. Action: Toss pies at unsuspecting county officials.

Each scene possibility jobs the memory to recall a familiar food fight -- the kind of experience conveniently forgotten soon after it occurred.

Each was a Miss Manners etiquette error of enormous proportions.

But Miss Manners would energetically endorse the Great American Food Fight scene suggested by the American Cancer Society.

The script, based on current research findings, suggests the link between a healthy diet and prevention of cancers.

To kick off the Food Fight, the Cancer Society will sponsor a chef's cook-off on Monday, April 15, from 6-8 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel. Tickets are available in advance for $5, or at the door for $6. For reservations or further information, call 322-0431.

Local chefs, participating in the creation of entrees based on nutrition guidelines published by the Cancer Society, include Mark Fitches, University of Utah Medical Center.

Fitches acknowledges the responsibility of his profession to cooperate with medical research in the fight against food-related health problems. "Chefs need to be among the first involved in keeping people healthy."

Other chefs participating in the cook-off include Todd Miller, Goldener Hirsch; Dave Wood, Doubletree; Bart Getz, Alta Club; and Peter villano, Salt Lake Country Club.

Additional activities will support the Great American Food Fight nutritional education campaign.

"Profiles in Survival," a television documentary, will air Tuesday, April 16, at 8 p.m. on KSL-Channel 5.

More than 20 Utah school districts will serve lunch menus coordinated by the Cancer Society on Thursday, April 18. A number of local businesses will recognize the cancer/diet link with employee workshops and luncheons that same day.

Sizzler Restaurants throughout the region will offer "cancer-healthy" menus April 18, while the University Medical Center will prepare meals according to the cancer-prescribed guidelines during the entire week of April 15.

Media personalities and cancer volunteers will bag groceries at local Harmon's stores on Tuesday, April 23. The grocery will donate 5 percent of its total sales to benefit cancer research.

Recent research indicates that 35 percent of cancers are related to diet, according to Dr. John Ward of the oncology department at the University Medical Center.

"A direct link between diet and disease is difficult to prove," Ward said, "but epidemiological studies comparing patients in the United States with those in other parts of the world indicate a diet/cancer connection. We believe that if Americans would alter what they eat, especially decrease the percentage of calories they consume, they would reduce their risk of cancer occurrence."

Dr. Gerald D. Dodd, president of the American Cancer Society, further explained, "Studies indicate that as many as 80 percent of all cancers may be related to the environment and the things we eat, drink and smoke. Diet alone may account for 35 percent of all cancer deaths. Even though the evidence linking diet to certain cancers is not as clear as that linking tobacco to lung cancer, we do know enough to make certain recommendations."

Dietary recommendations established through cancer research include:

- Maintain a desirable body weight. Obesity is linked to risks of uterine, gall bladder, breast and color cancers.

- Reduce total fat intake. A high-fat diet increases the risk of developing breast, colon and prostate cancers.

- Increase fiber in the diet. A high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, as well as lung, prostate, bladder, esophagus and stomach cancers. Vitamins, minerals and fiber in fruits and vegetables, especially cabbage-family vegetables, contain substances that may reduce cancer risk. Other high-fiber foods include bran cereals, whole-grain breads and dried peas and beans. Jean Zancanella, registered dietitian, nutrition care services, University of Utah Medical Center, advises eating about 25 grams of fiber a day.

"When you shop, read the labels on breads and cereals to determine fiber content. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more difficult to classify. I suggest that individuals make a more concentrated effort to eat about 10 high-fiber foods a day."

Carla Marr, communications director for the American Cancer Society, indicated that a new labeling program will soon appear in local grocery stores.

"We will be placing produce counter shelf tags in Dan's, Harmon's and IGA stores. Tags will designate high-fiber food choices, making it easier for people to select healthy foods."

- Add foods rich in Vitamins A and C. Vitamin A may help protect against cancers of the esophagus, larynx and lung. Vitamin C may protect against cancers of the esophagus and stomach. Dark green or deep yellow vegetables and citrus fruits contain concentrations of these vitamins.

- If you drink alcoholic beverages, drink moderately. Large amounts of alcoholic beverages increase the risk of liver cancer.

- Limit the amount of salt-cured, smoked and nitrite-cured foods. Cancers of the esophagus and stomach are more common in people who consume large quantities of salt-cured, smoked and nitrite-cured foods.- For further information on the diet/cancer link and appropriate recipes, contact the American Cancer Society, 610 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84102, 322-0431.

Ginger-Apricot Stuffed Lamb

with Kumquats

1 boneless leg or should of lamb, ready for stuffing (about 3 pounds)


1 teaspoon butter

1 small onion, chopped

2/3 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Salt and freshly ground pepper


2 tablespoons apricot jam

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


8 apricots, halved and pitted

8 sprigs fresh rosemary or watercress

8 small ripe kumquats, optional For stuffing, melted butter in small skillet; add onion and cook until soft. Stir in apricots, ginger, lemon rind and salt and pepper taste.

Lay out lamb and pound to tenderize. Spread filling over meat; roll up like a jelly roll, tie and place in a foiled-lined baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 11/2 hours.

For glaze, combine jam, mustard and ginger; mix well. Brush over outside of lamb and continue roasting for 15 minutes longer or until lamb is brown outside and pink inside. Transfer to serving platter and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Arrange halved apricots, rosemary sprigs and whole unpeeled kumquats around lamb. Makes 8 servings.


Raspberry Meringue Torte


6 egg whites

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla

Custard Filling:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Pinch of salt

2 cups low-fat milk

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoon orange or almond liqueur, optional

Fruit Layers:

2 cups blueberries, 3 cups sliced peaches, bananas, kiwi, mangoes or other fresh fruit

2 cups raspberries or strawberries

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Continue beating, gradually adding sugar mixture, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla.

Pipe meringues from pastry bag onto lightly greased, parchment-lined baking sheet to form 2 circles about 11 inches in diameter. Bake at 275 degrees for 2 hours or until meringues are firm. Remove from oven; while warm, carefully remove parchment. (If paper is difficult to remove, meringues may not be cooked enough or parchment wasn't greased enough.)

For custard, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a nonaluminum saucepan or double boiler. Stir in milk. Cook, stirring over medium-low heat or simmering water until mixture thickens and comes to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Beat egg yolk until mixed; gradually whisk a small amount of hot milk mixture into yolks. While stirring, pour yolk mixture into hot milk mixture. Stir over low heat for about 2 minutes or until thickened slightly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, nutmeg and liqueur, if using, let cool.

A few hours before serving, place one meringue on serving platter; spread custard over meringue. Arrange blueberries over custard. Place second meringue on top. Arrange raspberries on top. To serve, cut into wedges. Makes 10 servings.

Lemon Charlotte with Strawberries

7 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cups lemon juice

1 package unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup water

28 ladyfingers

2 cups strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or sliced peaches

Kiwi fruit for garnish

In mixing bowl, beat together egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar until well mixed; beat in lemon juice. Transfer to top of nonaluminum double boiler. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring until mixture is thick enough to coat back of metal spoon, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Stir into hot yolk mixture; let cool, stirring occasionally.

Beat egg whites until frothy; gradually beat in remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir one third of the whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold into remaining whites.

Split ladyfingers in half. Line bottom, then sides of 10-inch springform pan with ladyfingers, cut side in. Spoon in custard mixture. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours or overnight. Just before serving, place pan on serving platter and remove sides. Arrange fruit on top. Serves 10.

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce

3 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

1 vanilla bean and/or cinnamon stick

4 pears

Easy Chocolate Sauce:

1 cup cocoa

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine cocoa and sugar; whisk in water and corn syrup. Bring to a full boil; boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool (sauce will thicken upon cooling). Cover and store in refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.

For pears, combine water, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla bean and/ or cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Peel, halve and core pears. Add to boiling syrup. Pears should be covered in liquid. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until pears are almost tender. (Time will vary depending on ripeness and type of pear; remember, pears will continue to cook while cooling.) Remove from heat and let cool in liquid.

Drain pears throughly and pat dry on paper towels. Arranges on individual plates. Drizzle with chocolate sauce; serve at room temperature. Makes 4 large servings or 8 small.


Sole Poached with Tomatoes, Artichokes and Mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cup thickly sliced mushrooms

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 tomatoes, cut in chunks

1/2 teaspoon basil

Pinch of thyme

1 pound sole fillets

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and halved

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Granulated sugar, optional

Melt butter in heavy skillet; cook mushrooms and garlic over medium-high heat, shaking pan or stirring until mushrooms are tender.

Add tomatoes, basil, and thyme; bring to a simmer. Add sole and artichokes; cover and simmer 3 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes longer or until fish is opaque. Season with salt and pepper to taste; as a pinch of sugar if tomatoes are too acidic. Makes 4 servings.

Tomatoes Florentine

6 tomatoes

2 teaspoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/3 cup low-fat milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper


2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cut a slice away from top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp to halfway down tomato and save for sauce or soup.

In skillet, melt butter. Stir in onion and garlic; cook over medium heat until tender. Stir in spinach, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture into tomatoes and arrange in ovenproof serving dish or on baking sheet.

For topping, combine bread crumbs, parsley and Parmesan; sprinkle over top of tomatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Asparagus with Red Pepper Puree

2 large sweet red peppers

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground pepper

2 pounds asparagus

Roast peppers on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for 18 minutes. Turn and roast on other side for 18 minutes longer or until peppers are blistered and soft. Remove from oven and place in a heavy paper or plastic bag. Close bag and let peppers steam for 10-15 minutes. Using finger and a small knife, peel skin from peppers; seed and cut into strips.

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; when hot, add roasted peppers and thyme. Saute for 2 minutes; season with pepper to taste. Puree in food processor. (Puree can be prepared in advance, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 week; reheat gently over low heat before continuing with recipe.)

Wash and break tough ends off asparagus; cook in large pot of boiling water for 5-8 minutes or until tender; drain thoroughly. Spoon hot pepper puree over individual plates. Arrange hot asparagus on top. Makes 6 servings.

Chicken Dijon

6 chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup low-fat yogurt

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs,

1 teaspoon thyme

Remove skin from chicken. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Mix mustard into yogurt. In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Spread each piece of chicken with mustard mixture, then roll in bread-crumb mixture. Place chicken in single layer on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes for bone-in chicken, 30-35 minutes for boneless, or until golden brown and meat is no longer pink inside. Makes 6 servings.