The young lady who sold us these bees said one repeat customer confesses they make her "knees go wobbly." That's close to the typical reaction: The handcrafted bees are delicate shells of dark Valrhona ganache filled with oozy salted caramel and basswood honey from an upstate Pennsylvania farm. (Also, available in gift boxes: ladybugs filled with raspberry cream or garden mint.)

- Rick Nichols

Delicate Caramel Bees, John & Kira's chocolates, $20 for box of nine, Fair Food Farm Stand in the Reading Terminal Market; $29 by mail order, 800-747-4808, or

Recipes from over there

Carolyn Quick Tillery is perhaps best known for her recipe-remembrance books on Southern and African-American cooking. But she is also a lawyer and a retired service member who married an Air Force colonel, and went on to manage the U.S. Central Command's Family Readiness Program. Now her Military Wives' Cookbook is updated with recipes, stories, and vintage photos dating from 1774, and an "Over There" section with Japanese, Moroccan, and Korean recipes. Military Spouses Day is May 8.

- Dianna Marder

The Military Wives' Cookbook by Carolyn Quick Tillery (Cumberland House Press, Nashville, Tenn.) Updated in 2008, $22.95 at bookstores or discounted on

New update on an old (chest)nut

We usually argue against tampering with classic products and their familiar flavors. (Who can forget the New Coke?) But, in this case, Planters makes a change for the better with its switch to pure sea salt in its familar blue cans of roasted nuts. Our tasters delighted in the softer, more delicate sprinkling of salt from the sea.

- Maureen Fitzgerald

Planters cocktail peanuts, $2.99 for 12-ounce can; other varieties also available; at local supermarkets.