Filling is thrilling, pricey

New in the cake-mix aisle: Betty Crocker Fun da-middles, a mix that makes filled cupcakes. You prepare the cake-mix-type batter, divide half of it among 12 cupcake liners, squeeze in a blob of filling (already made, in a tube), top with the rest of the batter and bake.

Mr. Tidbit's appraisal: Pretty good. He'd say the filling is more silky than creamy, but it's perfectly acceptable.

The down side (surely you knew it was coming) is the price. The 15.4-ounce box (about 10.3 ounces of cake mix and 5.1 of filling) where Mr. Tidbit bought it was $3.09 (26 cents per cupcake), whereas a box of Betty Crocker cake mix, which makes 24 cupcakes, not 12, costs $1.99 (8 cents per cupcake) when (rarely) it isn't on sale. Mr. Tidbit loves filling, but he's not sure a filled cupcake is worth three time the price of a regular one.

Hmm. Making cupcakes is easy; if only there were a ready-made, cheap, easy filling that could withstand being baked ...

For the heck of it, Mr. Tidbit attempted to duplicate Fun da-middles using Betty Crocker cake mix and a blob of marshmallow creme instead of the prepared filling. The marshmallow floated to the top of every cupcake and browned.

Hey, Edison didn't succeed his first time out.

Oreo shrinks again

It was just three months ago that Mr. Tidbit warned that the 16.6-ounce bag of regular Oreo cookies might be on the way out, as an online store in Chicago showed the bags weighing 15.5 ounces.

And now the 15.5-ounce package (still 42 cookies, but each weighs something like 93 percent as much as one from a 16.6-ounce bag) is showing up here.

FYI, it was only a year ago that Mr. Tidbit warned that the 18-ounce (45-cookie) bag was on its way out.

If a giant cookie conglomerate such as Kraft's Nabisco were capable of embarrassment, it might be chagrined about this: Oreo's website still shows the bag weighing 18 ounces.