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Food & Drink

A la carte: Ritz Crackers on bacon bandwagon

| Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
CamelBak Relay water filtration pitcher is available nationwide in three colors: Aqua, Clear/Charcoal, and Purple. MSRP $36.99.
CamelBak Relay water filtration pitcher is available nationwide in three colors: Aqua, Clear/Charcoal, and Purple. MSRP $36.99.
Nabisco Ritz Bacon flavored Crackers
Nabisco
Nabisco Ritz Bacon flavored Crackers

Is everything better with bacon?

Nabisco thinks so. The company's Ritz Crackers line has joined the better-with-bacon party by adding the savory flavor in a new snack. Ritz Bacon-flavored Crackers combine the classic taste of Ritz, black-pepper seasoning and bacon.

They taste great alone and with your favorite toppings. Nabisco has also developed recipes to help savor the flavor. Included are Spicy Chicken Ranch Melt, Chili-Sauced Beef ‘n Cheddar Snacks and Ritz Fried Pickles. Find those and others at snackworks.com.

CamelBak Relay water filtration pitcher is extra quick

From Petaluma, Calif.-based CamelBak, this rectangular jug is a time- and space-saver. It filters water as fast as you can fill it from the tap. That's 10 times faster than comparable filter pitchers. The streamlined 10-cup jug fits in most refrigerator doors. This pitcher filters water twice — once while filling the container, and again when pouring water out. The result is great-tasting water with chlorine and other chemical tastes removed. BPA-free and dishwasher safe, the pitchers are available in three colors: aqua, charcoal and purple. It needs a new filter every four months, but that's still twice as long as other makes.

The price is $36.99 at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon.com and CamelBak.com

Honey with added sweeteners isn't honey

The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to ensure that shoppers who buy honey are getting the real deal. New guidance issued April 8 would prevent food companies from adding sugar or other sweeteners to pure honey and still calling it “honey.”

The agency said enforcement action is possible against U.S. food businesses or importers if companies try to cut those sweeteners into real honey and do not label the product correctly. If those sweeteners are added, the label should read “blend of sugar and honey” or “blend of honey and corn syrup.”

The FDA regularly detains honey imports and tests them after finding drug residues and unlabeled added sweeteners.

Doesn't plastic wrap melt in the oven?

Recipes from chefs sometimes call for covering food with plastic wrap and then foil before putting the food in the oven. Home cooks wonder: Won't the plastic melt into the food?

The answer is that restaurant kitchens often use food-grade plastic wrap in the oven to trap steam and keep food very moist. But the idea is always startling to home cooks.

Writing in the Washington Post, food-science writer Robert Wolke once offered a good explanation for why the plastic doesn't melt: First, the aluminum foil shields the pan (and the plastic) from hot air and infrared radiation in the oven. But because it's so thin, it can't absorb enough heat to melt the plastic. It also doesn't retain heat, so it cools quickly when it leaves the oven.

The second part is the plastic itself. Because it's preventing steam from escaping, the plastic wrap gets wet. That moisture keeps it from getting any hotter than 212 degrees. And most plastic wraps won't melt until they get to 220 to 250 degrees. So with moisture on one side and foil on the other, the plastic doesn't melt.

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