Tidbits: Quinoa, pineapple and sort-of PB


Quinoa x 2

Of the recently rediscovered “ancient” grains, it appears to Mr. Tidbit that quinoa is the one turning up in the largest number of products from mainstream food companies such as Kellogg, General Mills and Quaker.

The newest one he has encountered, Uncle Ben’s 5 Grain Medley Quinoa Pilaf, goes them all one better: It contains (hang on to your hat) two kinds of quinoa! Mr. Tidbit had no idea that more than one kind of quinoa existed, but there they are on the ingredient list: whole-grain red quinoa and whole-grain black quinoa. Sure, they are the last two ingredients — below beef fat, corn syrup solids, malic acid and natural flavor — but it’s the thought that counts.

Pineapple for Easter

Easter is just weeks away, but there’s still time to find this year’s most unusual flavor of Easter egg filling. It’s from Russell Stover, which had already pushed the envelope on single-serve holiday treats (pumpkins, Santas, hearts and more) with such flavors as peppermint brownie and lemon cake. It’s dark-chocolate-covered Pineapple Whip. (The name should not suggest, as Mr. Tidbit must admit it did briefly for him, some oddly sweet tropical-island torture; “whip” just means it’s fluffy, as opposed to creamy.)

When is P.B. not really PB?

There has been no shortage recently of variations on peanut butter and peanut butter packaging from Jif, including almond butter, cashew butter and hazelnut spreads (including, of course, salted caramel), as well as Jif To Go (1 1/2-ounce convenience tublets of peanut butter — let’s call it PB) and Jif To Go Dippers (PB and pretzels for dipping).

Over at Skippy, it’s been only packaging variants, including 1 1/2-ounce Skippy Singles tublets of PB and the recent Skippy Baking 1/2 Cups of PB. Until now. Going in a different snacking direction than that taken by Jif, Hormel introduces Skippy P.B. Bites, half-inch “portable, pop-able” balls in two varieties.  There’s Pretzel (pretzel balls covered with a peanut butter coating) and Double Peanut Butter (what the contents list calls a “peanut butter flavored center” covered with a similar peanut butter coating).

The coating of both varieties isn’t simply peanut butter, which would be unacceptably gooey; it’s mostly palm kernel oil. And the center of the Double Peanut Butter version isn’t simply peanut butter either. It’s mostly sugar and flour. Mr. Tidbit doesn’t know why.

Al Sicherman