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Gourmandise

Guac havoc

Peanut butter is made from peanuts, tomato paste is made from tomatoes and guacamole is made from avocados, right?

Not necessarily. The guacamole sold by Kraft Foods Inc., one of the best-selling dips in the nation, calls for modified food starch, hefty amounts of coconut and soybean oils, and a dose of food coloring. So consumer Brenda Lifsey is suing the company for fraud in Los Angeles Superior Court to prevent it from labeling it as guacamole.

According to news reports, Lifsey said she made a three-layer dip with Kraft guacamole last year only to discover that it contained almost none of the ingredient she most expected: avocado. It just didn't taste avocado-ey," she said. "I looked at the ingredients and found there was almost no avocado in it." (Actually the amount is listed on the label as less than 2 percent.)

"We think customers understand that it isn't made from avocado," responded a Kraft spokesman. Nonetheless, Kraft plans to relabel the product.

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Chocolate fit for the King

The Hershey Company, the nation's largest candy maker, is bringing Elvis Presley's favorite tastes of peanut butter and banana to candy counters everywhere next summer. The Reese's Elvis Cup will be available in standard, mini and "The King" size starting next July to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the star's death Aug. 17, 1977.

The package will feature a picture of a still-slender Elvis and under the label promotion that will give consumers a chance to win themed prizes. The week of Aug. 13, 2007, has been named "Elvis Week" to commemorate the star's passing.

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A bacon love affair

What's not to love about bacon?

"Seduced by Bacon" by Joanna Pruess (Lyons Press, $24.95) begins with an ode to bacon and its universal versatility. Then Pruess details the nuts and bolts of bacon: how to buy and store, how to cook and how to differentiate bacon, Canadian bacon, duck bacon and a dozen or so other baconlike products.

Pruess has found uses for bacon in every course, from starters to desserts, from bacon-popped popcorn to grilled trout wrapped in bacon to French apple tart with cheddar cheese, grits and sweet brittle topping.

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Quotable

"I look at nonfat foods as if they were a blind date: The expectations are enormous, but they are almost never met."

Cookbook author Diane Phillips in "Happy Holidays from the "Diva of Do-Ahead" (Harvard Common Press)

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