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Computers Are the Best Calorie Counters

September 03, 1987|JOAN DRAKE | Times Staff Writer

Question: A recent cooking contest that I wanted to enter called for the caloric content of the portions. How does one figure this out? Does one have to scan through columns of figures for the caloric content of individual foods and then do some fancy arithmetic for the combinations, etc.? Your Nutri-Data column gives not only calories per serving, but vitamin and mineral contents as well. How do they do it?

Answer: The Nutri-Data column is done with the assistance of a computer program of Datanetwork Nutritional Analysis System in Chicago. The company has a minimum monthly service charge of $100. The analysis could be done manually as you describe, but perhaps the best idea would be to contact the sponsors of the contest for their suggestion.

Q: With all the liquor stores in California and all the wine, why is it you can't find Yago Sangria anywhere? I moved from Illinois a year ago and there it is sold not only in liquor stores but in all grocery stores. Please help me, it's my favorite.

A: According to representatives at Monsieur Henri, the producers of Yago Sangria, it can be found in Albertson's Inc. stores, Boy's Markets, Ralphs Grocery Co. stores and Safeway Stores Inc. here in the Southland.

Q: What is "wet" yeast and where do I get it?

A: Perhaps you are referring to compressed yeast, usually sold in the refrigerated dairy case of supermarkets. Sometimes referred to as cake yeast, if fresh when purchased, it can be stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks. It can also be frozen up to two months and defrosted in the refrigerator overnight before using.

"Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (Bobbs-Merrill: 1986, $16.95) gives the following description of compressed yeast: "When at its best, it is a light grayish-tan in color. It crumbles readily, breaks with a clean edge and smells pleasantly aromatic. When old, it becomes brownish in color. To test for freshness, cream a small amount of yeast with an equal amount of sugar. It should become liquid at once. You may let crumbled, compressed yeast dissolve in warm water or warm pasteurized skim milk at 80 to 90 degrees for about five minutes before combining with the other ingredients called for in the recipes."

In "How Cooking Works" (Macmillan: 1981, $19.95) authors Sylvia Rosenthal and Fran Shenagel say, "One package of dry yeast dissolved in warm water is equal to about two-thirds of an ounce of compressed yeast".

Q: If a recipe calls for a cake mix without the pudding in it and all you have on hand is a mix with the pudding, how can you convert it?

A: Assuming you are referring to those recipes calling for cake mixes without the pudding to be combined with a package of pudding during preparation, a representative for General Foods, makers of Jell-O Puddings and Pie Fillings, informs us no conversion is necessary. Use the cake with pudding added, as well as the additional package of pudding mix. The baked cake will simply be more rich.

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