Food & Wine Magazine and America Online Team Up for 2nd Annual "Food In America" Poll, Revealing What Americans Truly Think About Food and Entertaining

Supermarket Check-out Line Best Place to Meet Someone;
54% Said Chocolate Mousse is Better Than Sex

Results Unveiled Online and in the
August Issue of Food & Wine Magazine

New York, NY and Dulles, VA (July 22, 2003) -- Food & Wine magazine and America Online reveal the results of their second annual "Food in America" poll in the August issue of Food & Wine and online at and AOL Keyword: Food Survey. Nearly 1 million AOL members shared their opinions, obsessions and habits on AOL's Home & Real Estate Channel. Respondents voted on the sexiest foods, their favorite culinary personalities and their favorite American food style and disclosed how much they spend on wine and restaurant tips and how often they entertain.

Some of the key findings revealed that AOL members think:
  • Whipped cream is the sexiest food;
  • Supermarket check-out lines are the best place to meet people;
  • Chocolate mousse is better than sex;
  • A burger & fries is the quintessential American food;
  • Merlot is the most favored red wine;
  • A pressure cooker is the best time-saving gadget; and
  • Skinless chicken breast is the food of choice for healthful cooking.

    Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief of Food & Wine magazine, says, "I couldn't wait to see what people were thinking this year, and when nearly a million responses poured in, I was delighted to learn that for the most part, America feels pretty much the same way I do about food. We decided to devote the August issue of Food & Wine to the results in order to help everyone tackle their challenges and give them ideas and inspiration."

    Tina Sharkey, Senior Vice President, AOL Life Management & Community says, "This is the second year that the 'Food in America' feature has successfully brought together a vast community of food lovers online. We're thrilled to give our members the opportunity to share their views about food and wine with the rest of the world -- online and in print. It has also been a great way for us to keep tabs on culinary trends and what our members want, so we can in turn offer additional programming that's even more relevant, useful and fun.

    AOL members were asked to answer questions in their choice of 10 subject categories including:
    At which celebrity-owned restaurant would you most like to dine?
    Arnold Schwarzenegger's Schatzi's was the most popular (34%), beating out Jennifer Lopez's Madre's (31%); Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and John Malkovich's Man Ray (28%); and Britney Spears' former spot, Nyla (7%).

    If you were a host at a restaurant, which celebrity would get the best table? Will Smith came out as the most popular guest (37%) ahead of Madonna (28%), Gwyneth Paltrow (21%) and Leonardo DiCaprio (13%).

    Who would you most want to cook for you? Respondents couldn't resist heart-throb Enrique Iglesias (41%) who beat out Michael Jordan (22%), Edie Falco (20%) and Pamela Anderson (17%).

    Sexiest food television celebrity? Emeril Lagasse (45%) doesn't need to kick it up: Respondents voted him the sexiest food TV celebrity over Bobby Flay (22%), Nigella Lawson (17%) and Jacques Pépin (16%).

    Whose refrigerator would you be most curious to peek into? Ozzy Osbourne garnered the most votes (49%), over Martha Stewart (24%), Jennifer Aniston (24%) and Lara Flynn Boyle (4%).

    Which fictional TV dining establishment do you most wish was real? People can't get enough of Friends: Respondents said they most wished Central Perk on Friends was real (48%), over the diner on Seinfeld (16%), Artie Bucco's restaurant in The Sopranos (29%) and the Sex and the City diner (7%).

    Sexiest food?
    Whipped cream was selected as the sexiest food (38%) over a heart-shaped, ruby-red strawberry (36%), a peach that dribbles down one's chin (13%), and a steak with plenty of sizzle (13%).

    Best pick-up scene? Supermarket check-out lines were chosen the best place to meet people (34%) over an adult-ed cooking class (31%), the farmer's market (23%) and the cookbook department at Barnes & Noble (12%).

    Nothing is more romantic than when a man
    cooks a woman a low-cal meal because she's watching her weight (38%); takes a woman out to a candlelit dinner (36%); grills a woman a big, juicy pork chop (13%); or buys a woman a hotdog at the ballpark (13%).

    Nothing is more romantic than when a woman hand-feeds a man grapes from a bunch (53%); prepares a man a heart-healthy meal because he's watching his cholesterol (22%); agrees to go with a man to a steakhouse, even though she hates steak (14%); eats cheese fondue with a man (11%).

    Better than sex? An overwhelming percentage of respondents (54%) said that chocolate mousse is better than sex. Runners up were burger topped with bacon (19%), a glass of 1985 Chateau Haut Brion (16%), and a perfectly ripe plum (11%).
    What is the quintessential American food?
    Most respondents picked a burger & fries as the quintessential American food (67%) over fried chicken (16%), ballpark franks (14%) and ice-cream sundaes (4%).

    Favorite seafood? Maine lobster was a favorite (35%), over Gulf shrimp (33%), Alaskan salmon (17%) and Maryland crab (15%).

    Favorite American food style? Midwestern beef-and-potatoes (32%) beat out Tex-Mex (30%), Southern fried (24%) and Cajun/Creole (15%).

    How much do you tip at restaurants?
    15% was the most popular response (35%). Runners up included tipping more than 20% if the service is exceptional (28%), leaving 20% (27%), and leaving a tip of 10% (10%).

    Favorite luxury ingredient? Truffles (59%) won out over caviar (16%), foie gras (14%) and edible gold leaf (11%).

    Wine budget?
    Most people spend around $20 on a bottle of wine (52%). Other wine spending habits: 21% of respondents said they splurge on a $50 bottle once in a while, 19% said they never spending more than $10 on a bottle, and a mere 8% said that money is no object.

    Favorite red-wine grape? Merlot (45%) proved most popular, beating out Cabernet Sauvignon (33%), Pinot Noir (15%) and Syrah (7%).

    Favorite white-wine grape? Chardonnay (45%) beat out Riesling (20%), Sauvignon Blanc (18%) and Pinot Gris (17%).

    Favorite kind of beer?
    American microbrews (31%) were favored over European imports (30%), whatever's on tap (22%) and the ballpark variety (17%).

    The editor-in-chief of Food & Wine is coming to your house for dinner. What's the first thing you do?
    Most people said they would immediately plan the menu (53%). Others would clean the house (38%), select the wines (5%), write up a guest list (2%) or buy new china (1%).

    How often do you entertain friends for dinner? Many said they have friends over for dinner at least once a month (41%); once a year (26%) or never (12%).

    Favorite way to entertain? People love having a casual dinner with friends (47%), a backyard barbecue (33%), a fancy sit-down dinner (14%) or a pot luck buffet (6%).
    My favorite time-saving gadget is a:
    pressure cooker (38%), food processor (30%), crock pot (24%) and microwave (8%).

    Where do you eat most of your meals at home?
    The kitchen table came out on top (44%), followed by the coffee table (33%), the dining room table (18%) and standing up (6%).

    How much would you spend for a grill? Most respondents said they'd spend between $200 and $500 for a grill (37%), followed closely by people who said less than $200 (34%) and those who said they had no interest in buying a grill (16%).

    When I want to cook healthfully, I grill:
    skinless chicken breast (43%), fish (32%), vegetables (15%) or lean beef (11%).

    The survey also tested respondents food knowledge, asking if you should salt boiling water for pasta, sniff the cork to see if a wine is good, whip egg whites in a copper bowl, plus so much more.

    The AOL/Food & Wine "Food in America" survey was conducted on AOL's Home & Real Estate Channel. Complete survey results can be viewed at AOL Keyword: Food Survey or on the Web at As added features to the survey web site, will also have option for menu planning and culinary travel advice.

    Methodology: The 10 subject categories (Food & Health, Food & Time, Food & Romance, Wine, Food & Money, Beer & Cocktails, Food & Travel, American Food, Home, and Food & Celebrities) appeared on AOL in stages during the survey period; not all subject categories were available for rating at all times. Respondents were asked to select one answer for each question in a subject category. Percentages for each answer are based on the number of votes for that answer out of the total number of responses to the corresponding question.
    Note: This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those AOL members who have chosen to participate.
    About American Express Publishing
    American Express Publishing is the leading publisher of luxury lifestyle magazines. Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Departures, T&L Golf, and Travel + Leisure Family magazines are part of the American Express Publishing Corporation, a subsidiary of the American Express Company managed by Time, Inc. under the terms of an agreement signed in March 1993. The company also publishes SkyGuide and a variety of cooking, travel, wine, time management, and financial books and products, and operates a custom publishing group.

    About America Online, Inc.
    America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE:AOL). Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.
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    Lainie DeCoursy
    America Online
    212 484 6708

    Elisa Shevitz
    Food & Wine
    212 382 5679
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