Little and less

Ever alive to the possibilities of artfully selling you less for the same price, Nabisco has brought forth Lil' Squares, an itty-bitty-size version of Honey Maid graham crackers. Lil' Squares come in a 13-ounce box that sells for the same price as the 14.4-ounce box of regular-size Honey Maids, so Lil' Squares cost 10 percent more per ounce.

(The 14.4-ounce box of regular Honey Maids, of course, once was 16 ounces.)

Unfortunately, the increasingly cranky Mr. Tidbit can't move on without pointing out what he feels is the odd placement of the apostrophe in Lil' Squares. The apostrophe, boys and girls, is used to indicate one or more missing letters in a contraction -- for example, the O in isn't and the HA in you've. The primary missing letters when "little" is contracted to "lil" are the two Ts, so lil is normally spelled li'l, as in Li'l Abner, Li'l Sebastian and Li'l Niblets. Yes, there's also a missing E at the end of li'l. Mr. Tidbit doesn't care to discuss that.

Anyway, just how li'l are Lil' Squares? A serving of about an ounce is 29 of them!


Soft-Baked Oatmeal

Over at Quaker, whose new-products department seems to be almost as busy as Nabisco's, the latest out of the oven is four kinds of Soft-Baked Oatmeal Cookies: Raisins, Chocolate & Almond, Banana Nut and Cranberry & Yogurt.

Although you might be tempted to do so, do not confuse the new Soft-Baked Oatmeal Cookies with Quaker's Soft-Baked Bars (Banana Nut Bread and Cinnamon Roll): The ingredients are quite different, and the cookies are higher in calories, fat and sugar than the bars.

And there's a difference that Mr. Tidbit can't quite believe. The bars come five to the 7.4-ounce package (1.48 ounces each); the new cookies (also 1.48 ounces each) come six to the 8.8-ounce package. But at three unrelated stores the package of six cookies was priced lower than the package of five bars.