Table Talk

09 July 2004
Table Talk

It's cold comfort, but we say: Go with the flow Recycling entrepreneur Bernie Karl thought he had a cool way to lure tourists to remote Chena Hot Springs, 60 miles east of Fairbanks, Alaska. He would erect the world's first and only year-round hotel made of ice. Three other ice hotels, in Finland, Sweden and Canada, offer winter-only ice lodges. Karl's six-room Aurora Ice hotel opened in December. But before spring was over, it was melting, along with his $20,000 investment. He somehow miscalculated the effect of 24-hour summer sun and 90¼ heat on the structure. "I had a frozen asset. It's now a liquid asset," confesses Karl. He plans to rebuild, but this time with thicker insulation.
Not so much using your loaf as being self-raising A Japanese woman flew halfway around the world for a job interview with renowned pastry chef Thierry Dumouchel at his bakery in Galforth, Yorkshire. Ai Konno, who spent £2,000 on a return ticket from Tokyo to Heathrow, said: "I decided to come here because I think it'll make me a better chef, and I'd heard how friendly Yorkshire people are." Dumouchel gave her the job after being surprised and flattered by her commitment.

Puffball daddy Scottish farmer Ian Wakley and wife Judith thought they were seeing things when they spotted a 9kg mushroom in one of their fields. But dreams of making a fortune by selling it to a major pizza chain evaporated when they got closer to the humungous fungus, measuring 3ft across, and started to doubt it was a mushroom. Instead of carting it off to the nearest Pizza Express, the couple, from West Leshangie near Inverurie, sent it to Aberdeen University to be examined, where experts identified it as a giant puffball. Sadly, the Wakley's fungus won't be ending up on any menus at all. Puffballs are good to eat when young and small, but turn bitter when they get big.

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