This one-pound-looking can of coffee contains only 12 ounces, where most others contain 13 or more. Considering the price, though, it's still less expensive to buy Perfect Balance than to buy regular and decaffeinated and mix your own. So if you're looking for a way to cut down on caffeine, Perfect Balance could be a good solution.
Carolyn: I know dozens of people who already mix decaf and regular to make their brew, but it's just a little bit easier not to have to. Being the first national coffee manufacturer to pick up on this obvious fact, Hills Brothers deserves all the sales it will undoubtedly get.
EARTH'S BEST BABY FOOD. Six strained dinners and four strained vegetable combinations. 59 cents per 4.5-ounce jar. To check on local availability or order by mail, call (800) 442-4221.
Bonnie: This new line of dinners and vegetable combinations has no added sugar, salt or fillers such as vegetable gums. But neither do most of the offerings from Gerber and Beech-Nut. What makes Earth's Best different than the baby food giants is produce and grains that are certified as organically grown on farms that have not used synthetic chemicals for three years.
With the rise in popularity of organic foods, Congress finally passed legislation last year, to go into effect October 1993, that specifies practices and materials allowed in growing foods to be certified organic. Generally, the goal of organic farming is sustainable agriculture - crops that sustain themselves in healthy soil without chemical intervention - although, when necessary, organic farms will use chemicals derived from nature.
I've always believed that foods with the least processing and the least chemicals are the best choice. In the case of baby food, then, the best is Earth's Best.
Carolyn: Since these new strained dinners and vegetable combinations are designed for babies 6 months and older, I called upon my 1-year-old nephew, Jim, to be my designated taste-tester.
Perhaps reacting to the pressure of such a responsibility, Jim's emotions while sampling Earth's Best seemed to be running high. He did everything up to and including crying (corn, rice & cheese dinner), smiling and showing his teeth (butternut squash and corn), and exuberantly lifting his bib up and down (summer vegetable dinner). But he did not spit up or refuse to eat anything - significant, Jim's dad said, given the relative chunkiness of Earth's Best compared to other brands and Jim's normal prejudice against any food he has to work too hard to consume.
Jim's dad was even more enthusiastic about the distinctive taste of Earth's Best foods. Like his son, Jim's favorite was summer vegetable. Although I thought the pasta dinner was bland, he said it was much spicier than other brands.
His only caveat: Since Earth's Best is less mushy than other brands and the babies have to chew it, it will take longer to feed them.
MUSSELMAN'S GRANNY SMITH APPLESAUCE. 99 cents to $1.19 per 24-ounce jar or
$1.09 per package of four, 4-ounce cups.
Bonnie: The distinctive thing about Granny Smith Apples, and what makes them so popular, is their tart taste and crisp texture. So it seems a shame that in making applesauce from these apples, Musselman's had to drown some of the Granny Smith's best qualities in so much sugar (both granulated and in the form of corn syrup). When I make applesauce, I let the apples' own flavors sweeten the sauce.
If you're looking for applesauce that's unsweetened and don't want to make your own, try Mott's Natural applesauce. It has no added sugars.
Carolyn: This new applesauce is tangier than most others on the market, Bonnie. Your opinion is just skewed by using Mott's Natural. Other people I know who make their own applesauce also usually add some sugar.
If you think this is too sweet I'd hate to see you eat a piece of apple pie, especially if you ate it instead of somebody who would really enjoy it.