Lean Cuisine routine

Every so often, the many Lean Cuisine offerings get reorganized and relabeled. The last time, about two years ago, the previous designations (Cafe Classics, Everyday Favorites, etc.) disappeared and in their place was a series of "collections": Spa Collection, Culinary Collection, etc.

Mr. Tidbit stumbled across the current changeover when two Lean Cuisine items — Ranchero Braised Beef and Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli, both previously in the Culinary Collection — fairly leapt from a supermarket freezer case in startling black boxes labeled "Marketplace."

Some Web crawling revealed that, in addition to the black-boxed Marketplace series, the new designations are (or will be, as the new packages seem to be appearing rather slowly) Favorites, in white boxes; Craveables, in light brown boxes; and Comfort, in reddish-brown boxes.

In general, this seems to be just a shuffling of the deck; chances are that the Lean Cuisine items you like will still be there, simply in redesigned boxes. On the other hand, it appears to Mr. Tidbit that some of the current offerings do not show up in the new arrangement. Check out www.leancuisine.com/freshnewlook and click on the "See all recipes" box. There are only 90 ("only 90!") varieties listed there, whereas the current lineup at www.leancuisine.com/products/exploreproducts.aspx shows something like 110. You know what that means: The one Lean Cuisine item that you love is disappearing.

Crisp or crunch?

Mr. Tidbit was puzzled by an ad for new Nature Valley Nut Crisp bars. Hadn't he already seen them more than a year ago? Turns out what he saw a year ago were Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch bars: "Crunch," not "crisp." What's the difference? Good question.

The Salted Caramel Peanut variety of Nut Crisp bars contains peanuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, and sits on a caramel-flavored base. The Peanut Crunch variety of Roasted Nut Crunch bars contains peanuts and sunflower seeds (no pumpkin seeds); it has no base. The other Nut Crisp bar, Almond Dark Chocolate, contains almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds, and has a chocolate-flavored base. Almond Crunch, the other Roasted Nut Crunch bar, contains almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds; it has no base.

At least for Roasted Nut Crunch, the distinction is baseless.

Al Sicherman