Mmm! Pouches!

New from produce packer Libby's are several vegetables in microwaveable stand-up pouches instead of cans (and, for that matter, instead of frozen boxes or bags). There are corn, green beans and peas, each in 13-ounce (about three ½-cup servings) plastic pouches, ready from the microwave in 45 to 50 seconds.

At first Mr. Tidbit couldn't see the point of the pouch, but as he prepared to make one or two snarky observations along that line, he realized that it eliminates the use (and washing) of the saucepan needed for canned vegetables, and that frozen vegetables take longer to heat. (Heating canned vegetables probably takes longer than 50 seconds, too, depending on how aggressively you pursue that task.) That said, Mr. Tidbit isn't sure that saving a minute or two is of much value in most vegetable-heating situations.

You know what's coming, of course: At an online store where Mr. Tidbit found Libby's corn in both the pouch and a 15 ¼-ounce can, the corn in the pouch cost 31 percent more per ounce.

The Libby's can wasn't available where Mr. Tidbit first found the pouch, but the pouch cost 52 percent more per ounce than Del Monte's 15 ¼-ounce can of corn. And at that store, the pouch was 6 percent more per ounce than a 16-ounce bag of Birds Eye frozen corn.

Lunchables news

Mr. Tidbit must acknowledge that he has long enjoyed calling Lunchables, in their many and various forms, a product that nobody would call lunch.

When he discovered Lunchables Snack Duos last year, it amused him to observe that they were even less lunch than the original Lunchables. The Duos — OK, they are called "snacks" — are two small separatable packs, each holding a few mini crackers, little rounds of meat and cheese, and some miniature cookies.

Of the four varieties of Snack Duos, half have more crackers, meat and cheese but no cookies.

Did you notice the flaw there? Two varieties of Snack Duos have no dessert! It took a while, but that imbalance has been righted: There are now two Lunchables that are only dessert: S'Mores Dippers (graham sticks, marshmallow creme and milk-chocolate chips), and Dirt Cake (gummy worms, chocolate-flavored marshmallow creme and cookie crumbs).

The universe is symmetrical once more.

Al Sicherman