Slimmer Creamettes

New from Creamette comes Creamette 150 — pasta (in three shapes) with about 25 percent fewer calories than regular pasta. (There are 150 calories per 2-ounce serving of Creamette 150; regular pasta has 210 calories per serving.)

How does Creamette take 60 calories out of a serving? By including a bunch of insoluble fiber from modified wheat starch and wheat gluten along with the semolina and durum flour in regular pasta. Regular Creamette pasta has 2 grams of fiber per serving; Creamette 150 has 13 grams. Although all carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, insoluble fiber is not digested, so the Food and Drug Administration allows food companies to subtract calories contained in insoluble fiber from the total calorie count.

If you've done some multiplying and subtracting and are scratching your head, Mr. Tidbit explains that some or all of the three numbers in question — the calories in regular pasta, the calories in Creamette 150, and the number of grams of fiber — were rounded off. (For that matter, so is the 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate. So there.)

Mrs. Dash is packing

Mr. Tidbit was aware that Mrs. Dash wasn't a single salt-free seasoning, but he hadn't been watching: He thought there might be two or three variations. In fact, the salt-free, MSG-free Mrs. Dash line has expanded to 14 seasonings and five marinades.

Now there are also seven seasoning packets (for meatloaf, chili, beef stew, etc.), and three for dips (ranch, French onion and garden vegetable).

For the record, Mr. Tidbit is not related to Mrs. Dash.

Nourish is a noun

Kellogg's new hot cereal, Special K Nourish, isn't oatmeal, but that's a fair way to think of it. It's a "multigrain blend with quinoa," but the first ingredient is whole-grain oats. It comes in a two-pack of individual-serving bowls (add hot water and steep, or add water and microwave), topped with a little packet of stir-ins (pecans, raisins, etc.) that differ among the three varieties.

At one store, where Quaker's similar Real Medleys (rye instead of quinoa) sells for $1.79 per single 2.46-ounce bowl (73 cents per ounce), the two-packs of 1.83-ounce Nourish bowls are $2.79 (76 cents per ounce). Both are way more expensive than instant oatmeal.

Al Sicherman