Cook's Grab Bag: A Call for Clean Water and Emeril Co-Stars

Offer to pay for your tap water next week so that others may drink out of harm's way. That's the focus of Tap Project, UNICEF's week-long fund drive at restaurants nationwide, including more than 90 in Washington.

Beginning this Sunday, March 16, here's how you can get involved: Dine out at a Tap Project participating restaurant (you will need to type in your zip code to get a search return for D.C. area eateries) and pay for your tap water. Your minimum $1-donation will help UNICEF's efforts to provide access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities in the developing world. One dollar buys 40 liters of clean drinking water.

Water-related disease (diarrhea, dehydration) is the number two killer of children under five in the developing world, according to UNICEF. Tap Project launched last year in New York, where $100,000 was raised from tap-water-funneled funds at 300 participating restaurants. This year, Washington joins at least 15 other cities (Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, to name a few) in the quest for clean water funds. The week-long fund drive taps out on March 22, which is also World Water Day.

For more info on Washington's Tap Project efforts, e-mail:

Wanna Cook With Emeril?

Celeb chef Emeril Lagasse, a recent Food Network casualty, has found new eco-footing at the Discovery Channel. Lagasse has just signed to host a new cooking show called "Emeril Green," as part of Discovery's soon-to-launch Planet Green network. But wait, there's a Washington connection: The first season, which is scheduled to launch in July (Monday through Thursday nights at 8 p.m.) will be taped exclusively at the new sparkly gigantic Whole Foods in Fairlakes, Va.

The focus of Emeril Green, says producer Marie Ostrosky, is on "real people with real cooking dilemmas" who will get an on-air cooking lesson with the Big Guy. Organics, sustainability and nutrition are also on the proposed menu. To that end, the crew is hosting a casting call for the first season's round of 80 shows.

Emeril Lagasse. (

Interested in 15 minutes of fame with Emeril? Send an e-mail to: foodshowcasting@gmailcom with the following info: Name, address, age, occupation, culinary challenge and a recent photo. Keep me posted if you're selected for the show and we may feature you later this summer!

"Jessica" in Portland, Ore. wants to know this: Is there a kid's summer cooking camp in her hometown? She's part of the Big Brother, Big Sister program there and her little sister, 12-year-old Ellie, loves to cook and wants to be a chef when she grows up. Anyone out in the great Pacific Northwest know of a summer camp with a cooking focus? Please share any tidbits in the comments area.

Today is chat day after a two-week hiatus; talk to me at noon for another round of What's Cooking.

By Kim ODonnel |  March 11, 2008; 7:46 AM ET Events , Food in the News
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

With the recent reports of anti-depressants, horomones and other unpleasantness being present in our own tap water, I'm not sure that I'd want it, to pay for it for myself!

But this is a very good cause, and good for the restaurants to promote. Kim, is there another way to donate?

Posted by: con-e | March 11, 2008 8:27 AM

Con-e: The link below takes you directly to a donation page. Have a looksee.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | March 11, 2008 9:07 AM

Why did Emerial leave the Food Channel????

Posted by: Anonymous | March 11, 2008 11:05 AM

For the Easter cake person on the chat: It's too obvious but Carrot Cake! I make two rounds and then construct an Easter bunny out of it. One round is the head and cut ears out of the other. Think smiles cut out of opposite sides. The left over piece in the middle is the bow tie. Piece together on a large cookie sheet and frost. We use jelly beans for the eyes and polka dots on the tie. The whiskers are made with either red or black skinny licorice candy. I know it's silly but I've made one every year for Easter and now my teen-age kids insist that I continue.

Posted by: rmh | March 11, 2008 2:33 PM

OMG paying for TAP WATER to help developing nations get something potable?

How about getting potable water IN DC?!? My God, have you drank that water in the last 10 years without getting sick?

Now with all the other water issues that we all face in this country, how about donating that money to domestic water issues?!?

I hate to sound callous, but when we can even get something safe to drink in DC, 3rd world nations are far far far from my list.

Posted by: LL22102 | March 11, 2008 3:10 PM

Don't know if the last writer to Kim's Chat on 3/11/08 will read this but just in case. To the person who wanted to know how to bake a ham, it's one of the easiest things in the world. People always think it is so hard.

Go to the store and buy an uncooked ham (bone in) of the size you want. For a party, I usually use 8-12 lbs. For a small group, 5-8 lbs is fine. Take the ham and rinse it off and wash it (the brine usually adds a lot of saltiness to the ham, so I like to wash some of it off).

Put in an oven-safe dutch oven like a Le Cruset or stainless (no plastic handles!) Take handfuls of brown sugar and rub down all exposed sides. If you like honey-baked flavor, feel free to rub a few tablespoons of honey into the skin. Then pour apple cider (not juice) around the bottom of the ham up at least halfway up the side of the dutch oven. Bake as per directions on the side of the ham wrapping. Usually somewhere around 300-350 degrees. I use my meat thermometer and cook to about 140 degree internal temperature. I baste about every 20-30 minutes.

Cool slightly and slice. The cider mixture can be used to make a nice ham glaze/gravy.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | March 11, 2008 6:34 PM

Cutest Easter cake I've ever seen was done by Martha years ago, and it was basically a Peter Rabbit cake. She made a large layered sheet cake sized carrot cake and frosted it with cream cheese frosting. She then made flat fence posts out of fondant to go around the edges; then she made mini-gardens on the top of the cake with a cardboard grid and oreo crumbs. On each garden plot, she placed marzipan vegetables that she had already made.

Posted by: Easter Cake | March 12, 2008 4:49 PM

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