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 www.startribune.com/tabletalk) 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 (www.cecilsdeli.com) 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."