Laura Shapiro

Battle Of The Bubbles

Right up until may 1976, the difference between French and California wine was obvious, at least to the French: the former set the world standard for greatness, the latter belonged in a half-gallon jug next to the Fritos.

Party Time

For some reason, the plastic containers Earl Tupper had designed with such ingenuity just weren't selling. They were decent-looking and practically indestructible, but homemakers kept right on saving leftovers the old way: in a bowl with a plate on top.

All In A Day's Housework

Cheryl Mendelson's magnificent obsession is housework, but to her that maligned term conjures neither scullery maid nor Martha Stewart. She sees it as maintenance, not style: the day-to-day upkeep of a civilized environment for personal and family life.

Eating With The Enemy

Shortly after she got married, Betty Fussell started cooking hard. Her new husband, Paul, was a graduate student at Harvard, and for a while Betty had had scholarly ambitions of her own.

All Of The Family's News

One of the most arresting photographs in Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones's "The Trust" (Little, Brown. $29.95), an eye-opening biography of the family behind The New York Times, is a 1951 portrait of its three iconic males.

Telling Tales Out Of Pool

It's hard to think of a better way to spend a summer Saturday than lounging with America's only swimming-star actress, Esther Williams, preferably at poolside.

Sad As She Wants To Be

Buckingham Palace, writes Sally Bedell Smith, is more like an apartment-office complex than a home. When Diana Spencer moved in five months before her wedding, she was assigned a four-room suite, a maid and a footman; then she was left alone.

What About Books?

NOBODY SAYS NO to Bill Gates, especially when he's giving away money. So the library world was ecstatic last week when the Microsoft magnate announced he was pouring $200 million into public libraries.

The Best Kids' Stuff

IF THERE ARE SMALL BOOK-LOVERS IN your life, now's the time of year when you may be thinking vague thoughts about Louisa May Alcott, or a nice children's dictionary, or even something new and '90s.

Mother, Daughter And 'Joy'

IRMA ROMBAUER WAS 53 YEARS OLD and enjoying life as a prosperous, sociable St. Louis matron when her world collapsed in 1930. Her beloved husband committed suicide; the Depression threw their finances into ruins and, for the first time ever, she found she had to make some money.

Tap Dance Wizard

EVER SINCE HE WAS 12, SAVION Glover has been bringing down the house with his virtuosic tap dancing. Now he's all of 22, and he's got new worlds to conquer.

Parents, Take Heart

IT HAPPENS WHEREVER Mary Pipher speaks: traffic jams clog the neighborhood, the auditorium is packed and dozens of people wait in line afterward, hoping for a chance to meet her.

The Downsizing Of Dinner

NOW THAT A SUCCESSION of beat-the-dock cookbooks has reduced kitchen time to a sliver ("The 60 Minute Gourmet," "Keep It Simple: Thirty Minute Meals from Scratch," "Twenty Minute Menus," "Fresh 15-Minute Meals," "The Instant Gourmet"), there's clearly only one way left to streamline the process of making dinner.

Now, The Dead Shoes

THERE WAS A TIME--MAYBE 20 YEARS ago--when it seemed as though all bad dances ended the same way: with the performers gathered into a menacing clump at the footlights, glowering at the audience. ("As if it were our fault," critic Dale Harris once complained.) How dispiriting, then, to see choreographer David Parsons, who's only 36, employ that very strategy to get the curtain down on "Touch," his latest work.

Good Night, Mrs. Brown

BEFORE SHE TOOK OVER AS EDITOR of Cosmopolitan in 1965, Helen Gurley Brown had never worked at a magazine; her husband' once said he had never even seen her reading one.

Getting Horizontal

There's no stage here: the audience is staring up at an enormous wall which four dancers are dangling high in the air. Each is strapped into an elaborate harness rigged to a pulley that's attached to scaffolding behind the wall.

Cookin' Up Good Times With Frida

Ok, so you hear the name ""frida Kahlo'' and you don't instantly free-associate to fiesta time in old Mexico, tables heaped high with pambazos, revoltijo and chilaquiles.

Eating The Mediterranean Way

Some scientists credit the fish, others the wine, others the olive oil, but the time-honored eating habits of the folks living around the Mediterranean Sea have paid off in some of the world's lowest rates of heart disease.

A Gripping Tale Out Of School

Peter Hoeg has been a popular novelist in his native Denmark for years, but hardly anybody in this country had heard of him until ""Smilla's Sense of Snow'' appeared here last year.

'A Race Against Time.'

IN A MOVING PASSAGE AT THE end of Steven Spielberg's 1993 film "Schindler's List," a long procession of elderly men and women make their way haltingly across the screen.

Dancing In Death's House

IT'S A SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN NEW York, and Bill T. Jones is standing on his head looking peaceful, in a studio full of chairs. He's waiting for nine kids to arrive.

But What Kind Of Salad Does It Make?

NEWSWEEK ASKED TWO of New York's most discerning tomato lovers to sample the Flavr Savr and compare it with other high-priced tomatoes on the market. Anne Rosenzweig, whose Arcadia restaurant is celebrated for its fresh, vibrant American cooking, and Nahum Waxman, passionate home cook and owner of the popular bookshop Kitchen Arts & Letters, were both curious about the new Calgene tomato.

Battle Of The Bottle

TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO, MICHAEL Sauer took a chance and planted grapes for wine making in Wapato, Wash. The long, sunny summer days would work in his favor, he knew, but cold and occasionally frigid winters might pose a problem.

This Girl's Life

HARROWING TALES OF LIFE UNDER totalitarianism have been published before, but Anchee Min's "Red Azalea"-the story of a young girl coming of age in thrall to Maoism-ranks as one of the most memorable.

Grabbing The Brass Ring

A HUGE CLOCK HANGS OVER THE stage, where eight mill girls work at their loom. It's five minutes to 6. The big hand jumps toward the hour, the music builds and-liberty!

What Happened On The Couch?

THE COMBINATION WAS IRRESISTIBLE: sex, psychiatry, Harvard and death. When the story broke two years ago, reporters crawled all over the lurid details of Dr.

Balanchine's Hit Parade

This will be the most important letter I will ever write you ... My pen burns my hand as I write: words will not flow into the ink fast enough. We have a real chance to have an American ballet. . ." The year was 1933, and Lincoln Kirstein, a rich young Harvard graduate with a passion for modern art, had just been introduced in London to the Russian emigre choreographer George Balanchine.

Suffer The Children

There are a few facts-a precious few-that nobody disputes. The date was last Aug. 4, the place was Mia Farrow's house in Bridgewater, Conn., and the occasion was a routine visit by Woody Allen to see his kids. (Allen is the adoptive father of two of Farrow's 10 children and the biological father of a third.) Nor is there much dispute about the state of Allen and Farrow's relationship: it had gone down in flames months earlier when she discovered that he was having an affair with her adopted...

The Skinny on No-Fat Sweets

And the desserts! Chocolate doughnuts, deep-fried and dusted with confectioners' sugar; apple dumplings with a thin lemon syrup; devil's food cake with chocolate sauce and whipped cream; homemade ice cream. . . . --WAVERLEY ROOT, "A New England Boyhood" ..MR0-Cooks and shoppers have dreamed for years about desserts that, like doctors, are pledged to do no harm.

From Here To Maternity

Some 20 years ago, feminists set out to revolutionize women's health care. Here as elsewhere in the women's movement, the personal was political; most of these activists were in their 20s and 30s.