Manitoba Conservation issued a warning last month about the mercury content in large pickerel caught in Lake of the Prairies.
However, the warning, said Stephen Kendall, manager of resources development at the FFMC, doesn't apply to the majority of our province's catch.
"There's no concern with mercury levels of pickerel sold in stores," said Kendall. "Our lakes are monitored and we don't purchase pickerel from lakes that have higher than allowable mercury levels."
Furthermore, no commercial licences are available on Lake of the Prairies and the corporation has never purchased fish from there.
The FFMC's biggest single supplier of pickerel is the Lake Winnipeg fishery, which provides about two-thirds of the corporation's pickerel for sale.
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Canadians from coast-to-coast will start to see the colour purple on grocery store shelves by Valentine's Day. Joining Heinz E-Zee Squirt Red and Green ketchups on the coloured condiment shelves is the new Squirt Purple bottle, retailing at $3.49.
Want to try it out? Anyone who sends in any recipe request plus a favourite recipe incorporating ketchup to Recipe Swap will be entered to win one of three bottles of purple ketchup.
Send requests and recipes to Recipe Swap -- Ketchup Contest, c/o Ilana Simon, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB R2X 3B6, send a fax to 697-7412 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include name, address and daytime telephone number in case any ingredients or directions must be checked.
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This year's James Beard Foundation Awards will be especially savoury -- the gala reception afterwards will feature dishes using the world's "most enticing scents and flavours."
At the reception following the 12th annual awards on May 6, 31 chefs from the United States and Hungary will be assigned a particular spice to incorporate into their dishes.
The ingredients will showcase the origin and current uses of everything from cinnamon and cardamom to saffron and star anise to scotch bonnet pepper and paprika.
"As the culinary world becomes more globalized, we find a similar correlation with the influence of spices in both classic and modern cuisine," says foundation president Len Pickell. "Now, we have the opportunity to showcase how far these spices have travelled and how pervasive they are throughout the world."
More than 1,600 chefs, cookbook writers, restaurateurs and others in the food industry will attend the event at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel. Tickets are $200 US for members and $250 for the public (call 1-212-367-9490, starting March 1).
The non-profit foundation was established in 1985 in memory of late cookbook author and chef James Beard and is dedicated to furthering the practice and appreciation of the culinary arts.
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As more people back off eating meat, planning menus becomes increasingly difficult for holiday hosts, says Roy Kingsmith, marketing director of Yves Veggie Cuisine.
"An increasing number of Canadians are cutting out meat for health reasons," he says. "The majority of these people still want to eat familiar foods but also want a healthy option."
Here are some of Kingsmith's solutions:
z Try serving meat substitutes in a traditional, favourite dish such as lasagna, meat pie or chili that will please and satisfy meat lovers and vegetarians alike.
z Keep it simple. Make sure there is a hearty side course, such as pasta or rice: Vegetarian guests will not get enough calories to make it through the night on salad or a side plate of vegetables alone.
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Please send Tidbits all news about any upcoming local culinary happenings such as food and wine events, dinners, promotions, new restaurant and specialty food store openings, chef appointments, Manitoba products, and other food-related stories. If you know of an interesting food story, give Ilana Simon a call at 697-7260, send a fax to 697-7412, or send e-mail to