Originally created 07/12/00

Small portions

Low-fat eggplant

By any name, eggplant sauteed and then baked with tomatoes and cheese is delicious. But the fact that eggplant is a vegetable doesn't make it healthful, as Sue Kreitzman points out in The Low Fat Cookbook (DK, $13.95).

"Cooked in the traditional way, eggplant soaks up oil like an insatiable sponge," she writes. To save calories (lots of them), she suggests broiling eggplant with a spritz of oil-water spray.

Narrow the search

Do you really have time to surf through 2.8 million Web pages for recipes? That's the number a search engine gave us when we punched in "recipes."

So it's nice that some sites actually do a little hunting for you. The Kitchen Link bills itself as "your guide to what's cooking on the Net" and claims to link you to 10,000 sites. Its main page is a bit of a jumble, with categories from hot topics and news columns to recipes of the day. But by using the site map, you can get anywhere from barbecue sites to hunger-relief agencies fairly easily.

A few times we were unwittingly thrust onto the Amazon.com Web site, or we couldn't click back to Kitchen Link. Still, it's nice to have someone out there forging through the jungle, although sometimes, maybe opening a cookbook really is easier. The address is www.kitchenlink.com.

Mini wedding cakes

Slicing the wedding cake may become a quaint custom if this trend catches on. Many brides and grooms are serving their guests individual cakes instead of the traditional multi-tiered cake, says David Ricci, baking and pastry chef at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.

Chill out on a diet

The freezer case is loaded with icy desserts to ease the summer heat. But these sweet treats often are high in fat and sugar, says Terry Moore, a nutrition professor at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health in Columbia. She suggests opting for sorbet or fruit ice if you're on a diet.

Top magazines

We all know which food magazines we prefer, which ones have the tastiest recipes, which have the best stories, which have the prettiest pictures. But which ones do the pros like? Not the culinary pros, the advertisers.

Advertising Age surveyed the Top 300 magazines in terms of total revenue in June, and the findings are interesting. First of all, of course, the so-called women's magazines are by far more successful than what they call the "epicureans." Better Homes and Gardens is the fifth top-grossing magazine in the country, with more than $595 million in total revenue and a paid circulation of 7.6 million.

Even Martha Stewart Living did far better than magazines with a more purely culinary slant, with $232 million in revenue and circulation of 2.3 million.

The top-selling cooking magazine is Bon Appetit, only No. 76 overall, with $99.8 million in revenue (up more than 30 percent since last year) and 1.2 million readers. Cooking Light (No. 98) is slightly ahead in circulation, with 1.4 million and $81 million in revenues.

Food and Wine (No. 104) and Gourmet (No. 107) follow with $78 million and $76 million in revenues respectively and 840,000 and 901,000 readers.

Niche publications Wine Spectator (No. 229) and Saveur (No. 288) wrap up the category with $30 million and $21 million and 273,000 and 389,000 readers, respectively.

Dry image

Everyone knows that prunes are dried plums, but now it's official. In June, California prune growers won permission from the Food and Drug Administration to use that term for their products. The thing is, prunes have an image problem, tied up with regularity and the elderly.

"It's a marketing question," says Peggy Castaldi, marketing director of the California Prune Board. "We're going for younger consumers, and our surveys show they have a more positive feeling to the name dried plum. It's more of a fruit goodness feeling."

We can expect to start seeing the new name used in advertising as early as mid-July, though "dried plums" won't show up on packaging until the next harvest this fall.

And what about the Prune Board itself - will it be changing its name? "That is something we're going to be talking about," Ms. Castaldi says.


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