Tiny treasures

New in the refrigerated case, right next to Oscar Mayer's Lunchables Snack Duos, is Oscar Mayer's P3 (spelled out in smaller type as Portable Protein Pack). Each of the four 2-ounce varieties contains three small tublets: one for a tiny portion of meat (little cubes of ham, turkey or chicken), another for a tinier portion of reduced-fat cheese (little cubes of Cheddar or marbled Colby/Monterey Jack) and the third for an itty-bitty portion of dry roasted nuts (almonds or peanuts), totaling in each case 13 grams of protein. The Portable element of P3, apparently, is that you can carry the Pack around until you need the Protein.

At the discount supermarket where Mr. Tidbit found P3, the 2-ounce packets were $1.79. That's $14.32 a pound!

To look at it another way, he trotted out his postal scale and weighed the portions of ham, cheese and almonds in the P3 that he bought, and then priced the same ingredients separately. At the same store, the 28 grams (1 ounce) of ham, at $3.09 for 9 ounces, would be 34 cents. The 18 grams (0.63 ounces) of cheese, at $2.89 for 7 ounces, would be 26 cents. The 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of almonds, at $3.14 for 6 ounces, would be 18 cents. Total: 78 cents.

Admittedly, it would not be convenient to buy small packages of meat, cheese and nuts and parcel them out into P3's tiny portions so that they could be carried around as a snack, but equally admittedly, Mr. Tidbit can't imagine wanting to carry around a snack consisting of tiny portions of meat, cheese and nuts.

Chocolate and what?

Although Mr. Tidbit has vowed not to mention new products that are merely new flavors of existing products, occasionally he finds such a new flavor interesting. For example, lemon chocolate Milano cookies. If that combination doesn't sound appealing, don't worry that seeing it will forever put you off Milanos: It's a limited edition.

Dear friends: Tuesday would have been my son Joe's 43rd birthday. He died in a seven-story fall from his college dorm room in Madison, Wis., in 1989. He had taken LSD; he was 18.

Hug your kids.

Al Sicherman