Sept. 2, 1987, marked a sea change in the history of Taste. It was the first time in the section's 18-year history that its cover was not devoted to a single image.

Instead most of it was devoted to a pair of stories (text on the cover!): one explored dessert recipe variations on the Fuzzy Navel (!), the other was the first incarnation of "Tidbits," a collection of food-related news items. But no more posters, alas.

"As the section was getting smaller -- due to the loss of supermarket advertising -- it was too difficult to justify using an entire page of newsprint on artwork," recalls Taste editor Lee Svitak Dean, then a staff writer for the section.

Other soon-to-be regular columns also made their debut: "Low-Calorie Cooking," a syndicated feature that transformed a high-calorie recipe into a more cholesterol- and sodium-friendly one (find both Stuffed Squash and Revised Stuffed Squash at and "Teacher's Best," which introduced readers to a different local cooking teacher each week, with a recipe, naturally).

Another major change was the introduction of the influential and long-running (15-plus years) "Food to Go." The column put the spotlight on a different Twin Cities takeout option and launched a seemingly limitless series of photos of restaurateurs posing with plates of food.

First up: Sheila and David Leventhal in their landmark Cecil's Jewish Delicatessen, Restaurant and Bakery in St. Paul ( and their selection of bagels, Kaiser rolls and Danish.

"It was the first attempt to include non-cooks in Taste," said Dean. "And it appeared in the Strib about 10 years before other food sections around the country latched onto the idea."