Speedy Shoppers Prove Their Spinach-Grabbing Bad Selves

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Our fantasies of a talking robot that will mix us a Gibson (extra onions) while whipping up our Quiche Lorraine may not, unfortunately, come to pass in 2008 -- although we do have six weeks to go -- but it looks like things in the cool-tech-kitchen-recipe world just took a leap forward.

Personal Trainer: Cooking, a new help-the-cook interactive cookbook made for Nintendo DS, is flush with recipes (over 245), video how-tos, forays into various ingredients and a way to add everything you need to a shopping list (helpful, since we generally run around Ralph's with a torn envelope, covered in illegible scratchings, clutched between our teeth). It will also respond to your voice, and talk back, which is perfect since we're usually covered in gravy, regardless of whether we're in the kitchen or not.

To celebrate the upcoming release of Personal Trainer: Cooking, Nintendo is putting a new spin on the old-style supermarket grab-and-dash at the gargantuan Whole Foods in Pasadena. Contestants have to locate all the ingredients needed for one of the recipes, and then the two top speedees battle it out in a spatula-y-spatula cook-off for the glory and a grand prize (the cookbook and a Nintendo DS, plus a $100 Whole Foods gift card).

Here are some things that may help you to victory: good sneakers for moving that backside through the aisles; reading glasses (don't be vain if you need 'em); a competitive streak a mile wide; a love of the culinary arts; and the ability to detect a can of chickpeas at 30 yards. Ready? Thursday, November 20. 10:30AM-1:30PM (if you want to participate, the spree starts at 10:30AM; demos are scheduled from 12:30-1:30PM). Whole Foods, 465 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena

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