PALTRY POULTRY?

Let's hope not. It's time to get your chickens in a row and enter the 43rd National Chicken Cooking Contest. It isn't until May 14, 1999 . . . but the deadline for entering is Oct. 15, 1998. Give yourself plenty of time to develop delightful dishes.

Chicken is the only required ingredient and it can be prepared whole, in parts or in any combination of parts. All recipes must be original, serve four-eight people and take fewerthan three hours to complete.

No Peking duck . . . no peeking at beef . . . and don't chicken out! First Prize is $25,000!

Chicken recipes may be mailed to:

CHICKEN CONTEST

Box 28158

Washington, DC 20038-8158

FAX: 202-293-4005

WEBSITE: (www.eatchicken.com)

(if mailing or faxing, please put each recipe on a separate sheet of paper. An unlimited number of recipes may be submitted. Each must be on a separate sheet of paper).

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT SPAM HAD GONE AWAY . . .

It's back! This time in the form of Savory International SPAM Cheesecake - the 1997 grand prize winner of the National SPAM Recipe Competition.

The cheesecake is "an exotic adventure into gourmet-style SPAM luncheon meat," according to the Hormel tasters.

Imagine these flavors floating on a gelatinous sea of salt and mysterious meat products: Chutney, brandy, pine nuts and international cheeses.

The incredible edible was whipped up by Alberta Dunbar of San Diego - the new reigning SPAM queen.

The SPAM folks proclaim "serving SPAM Cheesecake may become an American status symbol comparable to drinking bottled water or decorating a la Martha Stewart."

Watch for Martha's new project - Wall O' Spam.

OLYMPIC URBAN LEGEND

The city of Nagano was named after an ancient lactose-intolerant ruler who refused to drink egg nog. He was overheard telling his chef, "Nog? aah . . . no."

WHAT'S THE MEANING

ADOBO SAUCE: (ah-DOH-boh). Of Mexican origin, this dark-red rather piquant sauce (or paste) is made from ground chiles, herbs and vinegar. It's used as a marinade as well as a serving sauce. Chipotle chiles are often marketed packed in adobo sauce.