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Munch a Bunch

November 07, 1996

The Japanese have known the pleasures of healthy munching for years; go to almost any Japanese bar and you'll find a bowl of bite-sized freeze-dried vegetables where the beer nuts usually sit. Now the company Beverly Hills Farmers Market is trying to market the idea as snacks for the soccer-mom masses. Sold in packages shaped like those of granola bars, the crunchy peas, carrots, corn and bell peppers come in three flavors: chile-lime, teriyaki and barbecue. What's more, they have a too-cute name . . . Veggibles.

Available at Erewhon, Westward Ho, Wild Oats, Bristol Farms and Whole Foods.

Canned Heat

Supermarket soup competition is heating up. Bakers know Arrowhead Mills organic flour; health food lovers know its other lines of natural foods. Now the company is hitting the canned soup shelf with nine soups made with foodie-friendly ingredients like free-range chicken, olive oil and sea salt. Some of the flavors are smoky bean, red lentil and good old chicken vegetable. The vegetable broth, with more flavor than similar canned products, should be a big seller to vegetarians. Available at Wild Oats and Whole Foods.

Beni and the Fetes

Many kids and parents have come to know all about Beni the bear and his holiday adventures through the works ("Beni's First Chanukah," "Happy New Year, Beni") of children's book author and illustrator Jane Breskin Zalben. This season, she introduces "Beni's Family Cookbook for the Jewish Holidays" and "Papa's Latkes," both from Henry Holt. The cookbook explains the major Jewish holidays and provides basic recipes; respected food writer Joan Nathan consulted on the recipes. "Papa's Latkes" tells the story of the day Beni's mama, "who made the best potato pancakes in the world," decided she was too tired to cook and Papa saved the day. Of course, the recipe for "Papa's Latkes" ends the book.

Available at most bookstores.

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