Originally created 02/09/00

Small portions



Scent of love

Valentine's Day is the time when lovers pull out all the flowery stuff -- bouquets and perfume and the like -- hoping to overwhelm any shyness with a cloud of fragrance.

May we suggest that food scents are a better way to win over your honey-bunny?

You don't need to bake a tray of chocolate chip cookies. Food- and drink-scented candles, room fragrances and colognes are this year's mating call, available from a variety of sources:

L'OCCITANE:

The aromatherapy products from this upscale chain include candles with the luscious aromas of honey and gingerbread, creme caramel, clementine, fig and pear. The 4.2-ounce candles cost $14.50. Visit www.loccitane.com.

CABIN CREEK CANDLE CO.:

An online source for candles scented in pumpkin spice, sugar cookie, red hot cinnamon and butter pecan. The 8- to 26-ounce candles sell for $9 to $16 at www.cabincreekcandles.com

BETTY CROCKER:

The baking queen knows a thing or two about good-smelling kitchens; she's trying to move into the rest of the house with a line of candles. The 4-by-4-inch candles ($8) feature fragrances of spiced plum, carrot cake and peaches and cream. Textured candles designed to look resemble the cake ($7) come in six flavors -- er, scents -- including angel food, chocolate fudge and luscious lemon. Look for them in gift or card shops.

Chocolate mouthful

Each box of Dan's Chocolates contains an assortment of 11 flavors of handmade candies, including Loca Mocha (dark chocolate with mocha filling), Nutropolis (milk chocolate with hazelnut and caramelized sugar filling) and Razz-matazz (dark chocolate dusted with cocoa and filled with dark chocolate and raspberry puree). Prices start at $20 for a 1/2 -pound box; 1 pound is $33. The candy is mail-order only, shipped via two-day mail. Call (888) 989-3267 or visit www.dans.com. Orders for Valentine's Day must be placed by noon Saturday.

More than one use

Functional foods may be a hot topic among nutrition researchers, dietitians and food manufacturers, but the general public knows little about them, according to the American Dietetic Association's national public opinion survey, Nutrition and You: Trends 2000.

Functional foods are generally defined as foods containing health benefits in addition to their nutritional content -- margarines with cholesterol-lowering ingredients, for example.

Nutrition scientists have termed functional foods the leading trend in the food industry, with the potential to have a significant effect on people's health. Even so, the association's survey, which tracks attitudes and knowledge of food and nutrition, found just one in five respondents, 21 percent, had heard of functional foods and that the phrase has little meaning for consumers.

Asked for a definition of functional foods, 68 percent said they are foods that are "healthy" or "good for you." Seventeen percent mistakenly defined functional foods as providing energy or helping athletic performance.

Ostrich meals

No, David Letterman fans, this isn't a stupid pet trick. Ostrich farmers think the CBS Late Show host would be the perfect man to publicize health claims for their meat. The American Ostrich Association thinks that Mr. Letterman, who recently had quintuple-bypass heart surgery to clear a major blockage in one of his arteries, should stay healthy by eating a diet of ostrich meat, which the association says has less fat than other red meats. The group is offering Mr. Letterman a year's supply of ostrich meat and cooking lessons. He has not replied.