THE WHITE DOVE OF THE DESERT Your article on San Xavier del Bac ("Beyond Former Glory," November, page 90) brought back memories of our visit there several years ago. It is a beautiful mission, and we are pleased to hear of the restoration in progress. Were you aware that Arizonans call it "the White Dove of the Desert"? So aptly named as it sits serenely as a lovely bird in the midst of arid landscape. Melba Stanley TIGARD, OREGON
WHEN FRIDGE AND OVENS ARE TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
Re: Interior Design Awards, October. The photo on page 82 perfectly illustrates why a professional kitchen designer should have been consulted. Placing the fridge/freezer adjacent to the double ovens interferes with the thermostats of both appliances and drives up utility bills. Most importantly, however, there's no place (shelf or base cabinet) upon which to place hot oven items or cold fridge foods. Patty Parry SAN ANTONIO
SOUPING UP BARBECUED DUCK
Hurrah for the Food Guide (see "The Bargain Bird-and How to Eat It," September, page 109)! Yes, ethnic delis are a terrific source of inspiration. It's also a thrill to find my personal favorites like barbecued Chinese duck-delicious but very rich. Here's my Duck Noodle Soup recipe for health-conscious people:
Only 1/2 Chinese barbecued duck (about 11/2 lb.) is needed. Be sure to have the seller chop up the duck and give you those excellent juices. Pull off the meat and reserve for later.
Add bones and skin to a 3-quart pan with 6 cups water. Cover and simmer for 11/2 hours. Pour broth through a strainer into a bowl; discard bones and skin. Chill broth (and meat, separately), covered, for up to 2 days. Lift off and discard hard fat.
Measure broth and add enough water to make 6 cups. Bring broth to a boil and add about 2 ounces dried spaghetti. When the spaghetti is almost tender, about 4 minutes, add duck meat, 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, 1 can (8 oz., drained) straw mushrooms, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger. Cook until fresh mushrooms are limp, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add 1 cup frozen peas and 1 cup washed baby spinach leaves. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serves 4. Laura West BERKELEY
Editor's note: We devoured several bowls of Duck Noodle Soup in Sunset's test kitchen.
COULD FISH HAVE SUSTAiNED THE DONNER PARTY? …