Tacos, pancakes, sweet potatoes and pie

My email box is often filled with interesting press releases from public-relations firms specializing in food. Here’s what I’ve learned recently:

1) Montana is the home of “the best fish taco in America.”

When the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute ran a recipe contest, a Great Falls, Mont., woman won first prize for this creation: Thai grilled black-cod tacos with green-papaya slaw and spicy sambal cream.  My mouth is watering already.  www.alaskafishtaco.com.

2) March 1 is National Pancake Day.

IHOP restaurants are celebrating by offering every guest on that Tuesday a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. It is hoped that you’ll show appreciation by donating to Portland’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Miracle Hospital Networks. www.ihoppancakeday.com.

3) February is National Sweet Potato Month.

If you’re never heard of Vardaman, Mississippi, it’s time you do: The town of 1,000, southwest of Tupelo, is the “Sweet Potato Capital of the World.”  Sweet potatoes are low in fat and packed with nutrients, including vitamins A and C, anti-oxidants and beta-carotene.

4) February is also National Pie Month.

But the American Pie Council will not host its Great American Pie Festival in Celebration, Fla., until April 9 and 10. As that falls on the 100th anniversary of the Crisco company, a special award willbe given to chefs who find creative ways to use Crisco shortening. The mind boggles at the possibilities. www.piecouncil.org.

Now I’m in the mood for a Thai fish taco and a slice of sweet-potato pie.

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