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Combo Plate: First Lady Michelle Obama's new gig, bacon tater tots, shrinking napkins and more

March 22, 2011 | 12:39 pm

OK, I have to admit that this retractable kitchen island -- programmed by your iPhone -- is pretty stinkin' cool. In theory. Watch the above video. Doesn't this mean you've been walking all over your island countertop? If this were in my house, that rug would be covered with dog hair. Seems kinda unsanitary. But still pretty cool. I found this video over on Unplggd.

BLOGSPOTTING: During #weekendeats this week, our friend Food Bully noted that she had made tater tots. Our little niche of the blogosphere went into overdrive with the deafening demand for a recipe, STAT! Food Bully was happy to share. That's when we found out that they weren't "just" homemade tater tots. They are homemade bacon tater tots. Thank you, Food Bully!

In cookbook news: First Lady Michelle Obama will write a gardening and kitchen cookbook. (Does she ever ... you know ... actually cook and garden?) It's due out in April 2012, and all proceeds will go to charity. Also on the horizon, a new cookbook by Shauna James, a.k.a. Gluten Free Girl. (We profiled her here). This cookbook will be aimed at everyday cooking in a gluten-free kitchen.

Um. Yum? Have you ever seen broccoli baked inside a cake? Click here. (I think that's an improper use of the word "cake," but no one asked me.) Now this is a cake: Vanilla bean bundt cake with vanilla bean icing, because you can never, ever have too much vanilla bean. Via Sweetapolita, a baking blog I just discovered.

This is an I.Q. test: A food-storage I.Q test, courtesy of Yumsugar.

That seat is taken: The nation's obesity problem just might require the government (i.e., you and me, the taxpayers) to foot the bill to pay for an overhaul of buses, redesigning them with fewer passenger seats and heftier chassis.

Is that a coaster or a napkin? The Wall Street Journal reports on a trend that I did not know existed: Napkin sizes are reducing at an alarming rate. Have you noticed this?

Any suggestions for Daily Dish? We're always on the lookout for news, new blogs, cool recipes, the weird and the wacky ... and anything that will make us laugh. E-mail me your links: rene.lynch@latimes.com

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch