This weekly column focuses on what's new and available
to grocery shoppers. Entertainingly written from two diverse
opinions (Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian
and Carolyn Wyman is a junk-food fanatic), "Supermarket
Sampler" sifts through the myriad of new products
and lets you know what's really inside the fancy packaging.
WHAT'S NEW ON THE GROCERS' SHELVES
Low-Calorie Sweetener Granular and Packets. $2.29 to $2.49
per 1.9-ounce box of granular, or $3.99 to $4.29 per 3.5-ounce
box of 100 packets. Also available in 3.8-ounce box of
granular, and 50- or 200-count boxes of packets.
Splenda is the brand name for sucralose, a sweetener
without calories that is actually made from sugar. Sucralose
is already widely used in many low-calorie foods and beverages,
including Diet RC, Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa mixes, and Ocean
Spray Lightstyle fruit drinks. And now it's available
in single-serve packets and granular boxes.
date, I've neither read nor heard anything negative about
the safety of this sweetener. That's why Splenda is the
first artificial sweetener I have no reservations about
recommending to those who need to use one.
I don't mind artificial sweeteners hidden in drinks. But
I can't abide them straight or in coffee. In that case
they have too much of an aftertaste. It's the same story
with Splenda. The package claim that it has "no unpleasant
aftertaste" is only true in the sense that I would not
use the word unpleasant. I would use the word bad.
Ranch Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillets. $3.29 per 11-ounce
box containing six fillets.
Gorton's recently introduced a Ranch flavor to its
line of frozen crunchy breaded fish fillets. Like its
other crunchy offerings, these are moderate in fat and
calories with a serving of two small pieces providing
240 calories and 13 grams of fat. (A serving of most Gorton's
Grilled Fillets serves up half that.)
the Crunchy Ranch with a lightly dressed green salad and
some fresh fruit, and you'll have a fairly nutritious
meal. Better yet, buy fresh fish from your supermarket
or fishmonger, broil or bake, and serve with a favorite
The ocean meets the plains in this new Gorton's fish fillets.
The fillets are crunchy and salty, with only the slightest
hint of a ranch-dressing tang. In other words, it probably
won't be enough for real ranch dressing fans. While we're
on the subject of Gorton's frozen fillets: Can anyone
tell me why they're all shaped like the state of Maryland?
Toaster Strudel and Scrambles Pastries. Caramel Apple,
and Chocolate Strudels and Western Style Scrambles. $2.19
per 10- to 11.5-ounce box containing six pastries.
I'm no fan of Toaster Scrambles and probably never will
be. That includes this new Western-style one. Making an
egg and wrapping it in toast or a tortilla takes just
moments and tastes infinitely better. At least the Toaster
Strudels are palatable. These two new ones also provide
much less fat and fewer calories than a slice of caramel
apple pie or a chocolate croissant. I wouldn't suggest
them as a substitute for a real breakfast but either would
make quite a reasonable (only 190-calorie) dessert.
Who is strong enough to choose a cereal, fruit and
toast breakfast over a big piece of hot flaky pastry?
Hardly anyone. No wonder Pillsbury Toaster Pastries have
been such a success.
with the previous flavors, the fillings on these new ones
play second fiddle to the crust both in quantity and quality.
The eggy paste inside the new Scrambles Western Style
is the kind of breakfast astronauts must squeeze out of
tubes. The Caramel Apple Strudel is similar to Toaster
Pastries' other fruit flavors. But the chocolate is another
order of treat altogether. In fact I'd call it a chocolate
Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian and creator of
Express Lane Cooking: A Simple Solution to What's for
Dinner (Universal Press Syndicate). Carolyn Wyman is a
junk food fanatic and author of "Spam: A Biography" (Harvest/Harcourt
Brace). Each week they critique three new food items.)