Naturally peculiar

If there isn't a peculiar new cookie flavor from Nabisco's Oreo, chances are there's a peculiar new cookie flavor from Nabisco's Chips Ahoy! (the exclamation point, once more, is part of the cookie's name, not an indication of Mr. Tidbit's enthusiasm). This week it's Chocolate Banana Chips Ahoy!, crunchy cookies with chunks of each of those two flavors.

In type larger than the proclamation that this is a "Limited edition," the front of the bag announces "Naturally flavored." But the ingredient label lists "Natural and artificial flavor." One way to look at this, Mr. Tidbit acknowledges, is that the bag-front notice is merely a mention of one of the ingredients, and isn't intended to suggest that there aren't other, less delightful ingredients — much like, say, a bracelet with 100 chunks of glass and a tiny diamond might well be described as "a diamond bracelet."

Jif cookies

Mr. Tidbit doesn't mention cookie developments from Keebler as often as he does those from Nabisco — because there aren't nearly as many new cookies from Keebler. But now there's one, and it isn't even peculiar. It's ring-shaped Jif peanut butter cookies, with "Fudge, peanut butter & crunchy nuts." (The crunchy nuts are peanuts.) The fudge coating looks like it might be messy, but — at least over the couple of days it took Mr. Tidbit to eat the whole package — it didn't seem to be.

Thicker flatbread

Although there isn't a continuous stream of new Keebler cookies, fairly often there is a new kind of Keebler cracker. The latest is Town House Focaccia crackers ("Inspired by Italian artisan breads"), in Tuscan cheese or rosemary & olive oil. But Town House also makes Flatbread Crisp crackers; how are they different? The Focaccia crackers are thick "flatbread," and Mr. Tidbit would say they're sturdy; the Flatbread Crisps are thin "flatbread," and comparatively crisp. (Mr. Tidbit doesn't make this stuff up.) The Focaccia crackers are also about twice as big.

Vinegar crackers

Back at Nabisco, the Triscuit continues to venture into flavor areas that aren't normally associated with crackers. Mr. Tidbit is pretty sure he never saw a balsamic vinegar cracker before. The box-front blaze actually says "Balsamic vinegar & basil natural flavor with other natural flavor." And there aren't any artificial flavors!

Al Sicherman