Disappearing waiters top off the list of restaurant pet peeves These and other results unveiled online and in the August issue of Food & Wine Magazine

New York, NY and Dulles, VA (July 2, 2002) – The August issue of Food & Wine magazine is dedicated to the survey results from a 12-week America Online/Food & Wine magazine "Food in America" poll. The survey generated more than 500,000 responses on AOL's House & Home Channel (AOL Keyword: Home), where AOL members were asked to share their frankest opinions on food and dining in America. In the "Food in America" poll, respondents offered their personal views about the quality of the cuisine in 20 American cities, holiday dishes, wine preferences, aphrodisiacs, food rituals, dieting, restaurant pet peeves, food spending and many other food-related topics. This is the first time Food & Wine and AOL have teamed up for a survey of this magnitude.

Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief of Food & Wine magazine says, "We couldn't wait to see what hundreds of thousands of Americans really think about food -- their loves, their hates, their secret vices and cravings. When we started reading the responses, we got excited about basing an entire issue on the findings."

Kelly Kemmerer, Executive Director of AOL's House & Home Channel says, "We were thrilled with the immense response to the ‘Food in America' feature on AOL. It gave our members a chance to share their opinions about food and wine, which essentially measure the current culinary trends across America."

AOL members were asked to answer questions in their choice of 11 subject categories including:

Who Would You Cover in Chocolate?
Russell Crowe (46%) beat out Angelina Jolie (19%), Jude Law (18%) and Halle Berry (17%).

Who Would You Cover in Chocolate and Leave by an Anthill? Howard Stern (52%) topped Eminem (27%), Courtney Love (13%) and Madonna (9%).

Favorite TV Chef? Emeril Lagasse (57%) was the favorite, over Julia Child (18%), The Naked Chef (17%) and Bobby Flay (8%).

TV Family You'd Most Like to Dine with? The Sopranos (40%) proved most popular, beating The Cosby Show (32%), Roseanne (14%) and The Brady Bunch (13%).

Favorite Movie Moment Involving Food? The spaghetti scene in Lady and The Tramp (45%) was favored above the seduction scene in 9 ½ Weeks (28%), the pie scene in American Pie (21%) and the brain scene in Hannibal (6%).

What's sexy in the kitchen?
55% of respondents said, "A man who cooks is sexy," while only 25% found a woman who cooks "sexy." Instead a majority (42%) described women who cook as "capable."

Most annoying restaurant dating behavior? 46% of voters said that feeding each other tops the list. As for the most embarrassing dinner date moment, having your credit card denied (55%) beat out getting food stuck between your teeth (17%), spilling wine or food on your clothes (13%) and burping (15%).

Dutch anyone?
75% think that a man should pay for dinner if he has invited a woman out on a date. 8% think the couple should split the check and 2% think the person who earns the most money should pay.

New York City came out on top as the best restaurant town, ranking highest among the 20-city rated for overall quality of food, four-star restaurants, neighborhood bars and bar scene. Other great cities for foodies: New Orleans and Chicago.

Best FoodBest for Hometown Specialties Best for Value
1.New York1. New Orleans1. Las Vegas
2.New Orleans2. New York2. New York
3.Chicago3. Chicago3. Chicago

What annoys people the most at restaurants?

1.Waiters who disappear
2.Vain/snotty waitstaff
3.Cold food

10 items or less?
There must be a lot of patient people in America. 76% of respondents said they "wait patiently" when they are in an express lane at the supermarket and someone in front of them has more than 10 items.

How often do people think about food? 62% of respondents said "sporadically throughout the day." 10% admitted to thinking about food "as often as I think about sex." A mere 9% said they only think about food during mealtimes.

Drinks people are glad they left behind?
27% said "40 oz. beers or 40s," over wine coolers (24%), Jagermeister (21%), Long Island Iced Tea (16%) and schnapps (13%).

Sexiest drink? When people are looking for romance, they turn to Champagne. 36% found bubbly the sexiest drink compared to tequila "body" shots (19%), wine (18%), cosmopolitans (14%) and martinis (13%).

Favorite holiday food?
Thanksgiving turkey was voted the favorite by 52%. The least appealing food was Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls (43%).

Can't live without?
46% said they couldn't live without chocolate, as compared to cheese (22%), red meat (21%) and ice cream (11%). Favorite fat? Butter (51%) rated highest, as compared to olive oil (17%), cream (17%) and the fat in a well-marbled steak (15%).

Favorite ethnic food?
Italian (72%) ranked as the favorite, beating out Chinese (19%), Indian (5%) and French (4%). The cuisine respondents would be least likely try Ethiopian (54%).

Food Challenge in Fear Factor? Respondents said they'd be mostly likely to try Peruvian grilled guinea pig in quest for adventurous dining, triumphed over Portuguese tripe soup (22%), Chinese 1000-year-old eggs (19%) and Mexican dried grasshoppers (18%).

The AOL/Food & Wine "Food in America" survey was conducted on AOL's House & Home channel. Complete survey results can be viewed at AOL Keyword: Food Survey or on the Web at www.foodandwine.com/fia.

Methodology: The 11 subject categories (Food & Health, Food & Time, Food & Romance, Wine, Food & Money, Cocktails, Food Cities, Ethnic Food, Holiday Food, Restaurant Pet Peeves, and Food & Celebrity) 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, plus 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