As the economy continues to slide, 71 percent of Americans are cooking at home and eating out less often, according to the Grocery Shoppers Trends 2008 report released earlier this month.
During its annual gathering in Las Vegas, the Food Marketing Institute unveiled numbers relating to shopping habits and the economy. Here's a look at a few of them:
Families eat their main meal at restaurants 1.2 times a week, down from 1.5 in 2006.
When deciding where to shop, 37 percent of consumers cite low prices as the overriding factor, up from 31 percent in 2007.
Sixty-seven percent say they're buying fewer luxury foods and 60 percent say they're choosing more store brands.
Fifty-eight percent claim they're eating more leftovers.
Heat up summer: Whether you're looking to sharpen your kitchen skills or a student wishing to pursue a culinary career, Harper College has the course for you.
The Palatine campus (at Algonquin and Roselle roads) is offering a summertime introductory course aimed at teaching kitchen novices the skills behind simmering, sautéing, poaching and preparing.
Introduction to Food Production and Preparation includes instruction in sauces and soups, the basics of cooking techniques and preparation for an array of meats. It can be taken for credit or continuing education. The class meets Monday to Thursday morning June 9 to July 31. Think of it as adult day camp!
For details and to register, head to www.harpercollege.edu.
Oooh lolli lollipop: If your morning cup of coffee isn't giving you enough jolt, get a midday boost and channel your inner child at the same time.
Tootsie Roll Industries Inc., the maker of Tootsie Rolls, recently rolled out Maxxed Energy Pops, an energy "drink" cleverly packaged as a lollipop. The pops come in packages that resemble energy drink cans and boast 40 milligrams of caffeine -- about half as much as an 8-ounce coffee.
They have a lime green color and flavor and contain various herbs and supplements, including taurine, ginseng and guarana, as well as a 16-gram dose of sugar.
Man for all seasonings: Learn about legendary chef Louis Szathmary and his famous restaurant The Bakery from a woman who spent years working with him.
At 10 a.m. Saturday the Chicago Foodways Roundtable presents Barbara Kuck, curator for the Chicago Culinary Museum & Chefs Hall of Fame, as she shares memories about the late "Chef Louis." Kuck worked at The Bakery from 1971 until it closed in 1989 and collaborated with the chef on many culinary projects.
Szathmáry is quite an iconic character. He came to the United States from Hungary with $1.10 and spoke only five words of English. Educated as a journalist and psychologist in his native country, he worked as an actor, newspaperman, soldier, marriage counselor, spy, prisoner of war, lecturer, author, TV and radio personality, adventurer and chef. He later became a food consultant for industry and government, wrote numerous cookbooks and columns and was an avid book collector. His cookbook collection alone boasted 18,000 volumes.
The program will be presented at Kendall College, 900 North Branch St., Chicago. $3. Reserve at (847) 432-8255 or just show up.