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Briefs: 'Italian Way' author's book signing at Barnes & Noble, Uptown

Dr. Douglas Harper, professor of sociology at Duquesne University, will do a sign his new book "The Italian Way: Food and Social Life" (The University of Chicago Press, $29) Thursday. Harper co-authored the book with his wife, Patrizia Faccioli, a native of Italy and professor of sociology at the University of Bologna. "The Italian Way" reflects on Italian culture by focusing on 24 families in the city of Bologna, Italy, and features interviews, observations and 150 photos of the families shopping and cooking.

The book signing will be 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Duquesne University Power Center, Forbes Avenue at Chatham Square, Uptown. Details: 412-434-6626.

Sweet talk

Give that ol' honey bear a break, and try a dollop of sweet stuff from a sleek jar of Wisconsin Natural Acres for your next cuppa or slice of toast. The nectar is primarily sourced from alfalfa, basswood and clover. It contains only Wisconsin-produced honey, and it is not heated or filtered during production. A 5.7-ounce jar is $8.95 at wnacres.com.

Kitchen cleanup

The editors at Women's Day magazine offer solutions for these issues:

Piles of papers. If you have a kitchen office, buy folders and containers so you can file papers and other items weekly. Otherwise, create a mini-command center (checkbook, laptop, mail sorter). Hang a calendar and dry-erase board on the wall.

Overflowing dishes. If you're drowning in dishware, try adding a few plate shelves or under the-shelf cup holders. And customize your cabinets by adjusting shelves to fit dishes.

Out-of-control pantry. Try organizing it by breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner, so you know what's really there. Keep often-used meal ingredients within reach and place school-lunch items on the lower shelves so kids can get to them. Over-the-door racks and stackable bins will expand your space. If you still don't have enough room, use your garage to hold their extra paper towels, canned goods and other backups.

Unsightly trash. Most chefs need big, accessible bins. Find a corner away from the main area and put a decent-size can there. That way, you're not spilling garbage, trapping odors or emptying cans twice a day. Stash fresh trash bags inside at the bottom. For recycling, stackable mesh bins or three-tiered towers do the trick.

Messy fridge. Group foods by use (dairy, meat, produce, etc.). Seal chopped veggies, washed and dried lettuce, shredded cheese, sliced deli meats or other food prep staples in plastic or glass containers to grab when making meals. Corral smaller items in plastic tubs that act as "drawers," and if possible, adjust interior shelves for a perfect fit. Check for and toss expired foods once a week. Keep a dated list of all leftovers on the fridge door as a reminder to eat them soon.

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