5. TELEVISION Stay off it. Your job is to be in the kitchen making or supervising meals for the paying customers. I see a chef on TV, it's like you painted a big target on your restaurant — I know you are not minding the store, and the cab company is on speed dial.

6. CRÈME BRÛLÉE I've got a new argument against this cliché: global warming. Donate your butane torches to Haiti and serve me a nice a custard dessert. And how about butterscotch pudding?

7. ONION SOUP A few tips: when you do the whole steer, make beef stock out of the shins and feet. Don't add too much salt. How about a crouton with some crunch?

8. TAGLIATELLE BOLOGNESE Sure it's good. But do you really think you can make it better than Dante de Magistris or Barbara Lynch? If so, go for it.

9. MEMO TO SERVERS "Are you still working on that?" is a tip-killer. People are dining out. If you make them think of working, they will think of paychecks and layoffs.

10. SWEET-POTATO FRIES They don't get crisp. Not until after they burn a lot.

11. CONFIT DUCK Try a little spice. Madeleine Kamman was right; Paula Wolfert was wrong.

12. THE WAR IN IRAQ IS OVER Where are my refugee restaurants? If I don't see any results in 2010, we're going to have to end some more wars. I would hate to see us lining up for North Korean or Libyan food, so let's get those Iraqi restaurants going, okay?

13. THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR HAS BEEN OVER FOR MORE THAN 110 YEARS Where are my Filipino restaurants?

14. THE PLASMA TVS I'm not asking you to donate them to Goodwill. How about some less annoying content than sound-free talking heads on CNN?

15. ROASTED BEET SALAD Slower, longer roasting to get some concentrated sweetness in the beets. Red, good. Golden, good. Chioggia beets, pretty but tasteless. Got it?

16. THE FAKE FIREPLACE THING If natural gas is cheaper and less polluting than wood, invent an attractive natural-gas space heater that doesn't look like a fake wood fire.

17. CARROT CAKE A last refuge of spicy pudding flavors. How about half the size, and lighter frosting?

18. VEGAN RESTAURANTS WITHOUT VEGETABLES This goes for kosher Chinese and Asian-vegan, too. One a year is funny. Any more than that is war.

19. GRINDING STEAKS INTO $20 HAMBURGERS This is not a form of molecular gastronomy. It's nuts.

20. SOFTER RISOTTI, HARDER DRIED PASTA I regret to inform you that if I can buy high-protein imported pasta on what the Phoenix pays, you can afford to sell it for $16 a plate with clam sauce.

Robert Nadeau can be reached at robtnadeau@aol.com.

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