Right Stuff vs. Food Porn

January/February 2011

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Right Stuff


“Packing so much goodness into something so slim and delicious takes real dedication,” says the box of Finn Crisp Plus 5 Wholegrains Thin Crispbread.

Who knew? If you’re a fan of Finn Crisp’s Traditional Rye Crispbreads, you may have wondered how the company manages to squeeze so much flavor into one remarkably slender wafer. (Apparently, it’s not easy.) Thank goodness Finn Crisp went to all that trouble.

The new 5 Wholegrains Crispbread adds, well, four other whole grains, “for an even tastier and healthier crunch.” And, since the crisps are imported from Finland, the label reveals how much of each major ingredient you’re getting. (Wouldn’t that be handy to have on U.S. labels?)

The crackers are still mostly rye flour (65 percent), plus oat flour and oat flakes (8 percent), barley flour and wheat flour (4 percent each), and millet (1.7 percent).

Together, they deliver three grams of fiber for the two-slice (½ oz.) serving that’s listed in the Nutrition Facts, or six grams for the 1 oz. serving that most cracker labels show. And those grams are intact fiber, not the isolated kind (like inulin, oat fiber, wheat fiber, or polydextrose) that bakers use to make impressive (though misleading) fiber claims. It’s the real deal.

Bonus: a 1 oz. serving has just 120 calories and 140 milligrams of sodium, so it won’t stick to your rib padding...or pressure your arteries.

Spread on a dollop of hummus or a thin slice of Brie, or enjoy them sans topping. Finn is in.

Liberty Richter: (973) 338-0300

Food Porn


“Indulge in the perfect combination of chocolate and mocha lusciousness with Pepperidge Farm Petite Cake,” says the Mocha Bliss box.

“Exquisitely baked to moist, rich, chocolatey perfection, made with premium cocoa, surrounded with smooth buttercream frosting with a touch of coffee and topped with dark and white chocolate curls...is your mouth watering yet?”

Your mouth might stop watering if you glanced over to the smaller print. The “real buttercream frosting” and “premium cocoa” touted on the front label sound like top-notch ingredients. And while the cake does have butter, cocoa, and eggs, it’s mostly sugar, water, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, white flour, and high fructose corn syrup.

Did Pepperidge Farm get a good deal on the partially hydrogenated oil that other bakers are dumping in droves? There’s enough in the Mocha Bliss to supply 2½ grams of trans fat in every 2½-ounce serving. (The company’s 3-Layer Cakes are also loaded with trans.) That’s more than anyone should eat in a day, and it comes with 3½ grams of saturated fat and 260 calories, more than a third of them from the 6 teaspoons of added sugars. That may not sound like much, until you see the serving. It’s, um, rather petite.

Chocolate Passion, the other Petite Cake, is in the same ball park. Both are “small, sweet, sinful,” and “sweet satisfaction!” say the boxes.

Pepperidge Farm must be satisfied knowing that it passed off a cheap mix of sugar, water, trans-laden oils, and white flour as a classy dessert for the discriminating gastronome.

Or is that the sinful part?

Pepperidge Farm: (888) 737-7374

Dish of the Month

Quick Quesadillas

Toss together 1 cup of black beans, 1 cup of corn kernels, ½ cup of reduced-fat shredded cheese, and ½ cup of jarred salsa. Spoon the filling onto 4 whole wheat tortillas, fold in half, and sauté each in a non-stick pan in 1 tsp. of canola oil.

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