A study inspired by an episode of “Seinfeld” found that double-dipping a chip basically is like “putting your whole mouth right in the dip” (as George Costanza is told). According to a Clemson University study released just before the Super Bowl, if you double-dip a chip three to six times (take a bite and then put the bitten part back in the dip), it transfers about 10,000 bacteria to the dip.


 


A study inspired by an episode of “Seinfeld” found that double-dipping a chip basically is like “putting your whole mouth right in the dip” (as George Costanza is told). According to a Clemson University study released just before the Super Bowl, if you double-dip a chip three to six times (take a bite and then put the bitten part back in the dip), it transfers about 10,000 bacteria to the dip. Did you catch anyone double-dipping at your Super Bowl party? What did you do about it? If you didn’t, what would you do if you caught someone double-dipping? Continue eating? Let us know!

Critic’s Cupboard: SweetFiber

Spatula down: For people trying to cut back on calories and bulk up on fiber, zero-calorie SweetFiber seems like the ideal product. Scott Taylor, a former executive with Trident, created the all-natural sweetener made from an extract of a plant indigenous to China. Taylor added fiber for extra health benefits. “I knew I’d have a home run,” he said. I tried the granules in a pitcher of homemade lemonade. Normally, I would use a cup of sugar. With SweetFiber, I needed only 1/2 cup. Or so I thought. I kept adding more and more product to sweeten the drink, and ended up using about 1 1/4 cups before it was sweet enough. But most of it wouldn’t dissolve. Coagulated chunks collected on the bottom, and the cloudy lemonade tasted like chemicals. In another attempt, I added the sweetener to a bottle of water on my desk, where it sat over the weekend. By Monday morning, it fermented into liquid that reeked of rotten eggs. Home run? How about major strikeout. -- Jennifer Mastroianni

Spatula down: Poor, maligned sugar must fend off yet another sweet usurper. Since pink packets of Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin) hit the scene in 1957, a steady stream of sugar substitutes have attempted to push sugar from its throne, each claiming to be stronger (“300 times as sweet!”) and better (“No chemical aftertaste!”) than sugar. It must be asked: Unless you are a diabetic, what’s wrong with an occasional serving of real sugar? While in Europe, I saw many people enjoying sugar in coffee and in desserts, but I did not see one obese person. Not one. Perhaps instead of manufacturing more and more sweeteners we should eat fewer and fewer sweetened foods. One cookie instead of five. Two desserts a week instead of two a day. SweetFiber, as its name implies, promises an all-natural sweet taste plus fiber. I know another product that is natural, sweet and loaded with fiber. It’s called fruit. -- Saimi Bergmann

Easy Recipe: Gooey Butter Cookies

When you start with a cake mix, making cookies is a snap. The only trick to this recipe is combining the cream cheese and butter. Sometimes the mixture gets stuck in the beaters. If that happens, turn the mixer off and with a knife, scrape the batter out and start again. You can minimize this problem by making sure the butter and cream cheese sit out for an hour to warm and soften before you start mixing.

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 package (1-layer size, about 9 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended, about 4 minutes. Add cake mix, egg and vanilla; stir together. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Grease cookie sheets. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll ball in powdered sugar to coat and place on greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. With spatula, move from cookie sheet to a wire rack to cool. Yields about 45 small cookies. -- Adapted from the 2008 Wal-Mart Family Cookbook/Canton Repository

Number to Know: 121

Calories in a large (8 inches long) banana. A six-inch banana has 90 calories. -- www.thecaloriecounter.com

Wise to the Word

Johnnycake (johnny cake, jonnycake, hoe cake, hoecake): Thought to be the precursor of the pancake, the johnnycake dates to the early 1700s. It's a rather flat griddlecake made of cornmeal, salt and either boiling water or cold milk; there are strong advocates of both versions. Today's johnnycakes often have eggs, oil or melted butter and leavening (such as baking powder) added. Some renditions are baked in the oven, more like traditional cornbread. -- www.epicurious.com

From The Beer Nut’s Blog

I have a special place in my heart for the Shmaltz Brewing Company because they were the focus of my third Beer Nut column, way back in 2006. Here’s their latest release: America’s smallest Jewish beer company, Shmaltz Brewing Company is proud to announce achieving over 550 percent growth in the last four years (2003-2007). With projected annual sales for the coming 2008 estimated at over $1.5 million, Shmaltz Brewing is no longer a one-man operation of sole proprietor Jeremy Cowan.  With such substantial growth, selling over three million bottles to date, the company recently expanded to five full-time employees and will nationally launch in late spring 2008 its new line of Coney Island Lagers. Shmaltz Brewing’s award-winning HE’BREW Beer expands its lineup with three new 2008 offerings including Rejewvenator (spring ‘08, fig-infused half doppleboch, half Belgian double/quad), Lenny on Rye (Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., their tribute beer to the late comedian Lenny Bruce, aged in rye-whiskey barrels, June) and the fifth edition of their extreme Chanukah seasonal, Jewbelation 12 (Oct. 1, 12 malts, 12 hops, 12% alc). The national launch of Coney Island will feature its self-titled debut offering and four craft brewed lagers including Sword Swallower (May 1), Albino Python (May 1), Human Blockhead (draft only, summer) and Freaktoberfest (Sept. 1 - Halloween). -- For more beer-related articles, visit Norman Miller’s blog at http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut.

Wine Tips: What in the World is Glogg?

Glogg is a traditional drink of the Swedish and Finnish Advent season -- Advent being the six weeks leading up to Christmas. Glogg is traditionally made with red wine, and each small glass has a few almonds and raisins in it as well as the drink. December in this region is a dark, wintry time, and this hot drink helps keep the spirits cheered. Glogg's origins are with mulled wine -- wine heated with spices. Mulled wine was known to medieval Europeans and celebrated from at least 400 AD. In the 1800s, a special mulled wine was popular in Europe known as "Glühwein," which began to incorporate raisins and almonds. Glogg also tends to have more sugar as well as a heavier alcohol content. -- wineintro.com

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