GOOD TASTE AND GOOD NUTRITION may seem incompatible sometimes, but not necessarily according to more than 50 prominent chefs, food professionals, nutritionists and physicians who recently reached a consensus combining both.

Organized by the American Institute of Wine & Food, a group cofounded by Julia Child, the coalition-building project was cosponsored by the National Dairy Board and hosted by the Tufts University School of Nutrition.

Participants at the Boston meeting, including Child, came to the following conclusions, which will be shared with other food leaders and filtered down to consumers:

In matters of taste, consider health. In matters of health, consider taste. In all cases, consider individual needs and preferences.

Judge your dietary fat intake over several days, instead of by food or by meal. All foods can be part of a healthful diet.

You don't need to restrict yourself to low-fat choices to meet dietary guidelines. If making higher-fat choices, be moderate and consider how often and how much.

Regular, moderate physical activity contributes to well-being, health and the range of foods you can eat and enjoy.

Nutrition and healthful eating begin around the table at home.

Ingredients should be available at point of maximum flavor and optimum condition.

Flavor and texture take precedence over appearance in selecting ingredients.

Use fat where needed for flavor and enjoyment. And learn to cook. You'll have more control over the quality and composition of your food.

IT'S NOT TOO EARLY to talk turkey, at least with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, at 1-800-323-4848. The line, staffed by 44 home economists and nutritionists, started its 10th season this week. Hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on the weekend prior to Thanksgiving and and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

FRANKS AND BEANS, beans and franks, every Saturday night. After a while you want something different, and this may be it: Health Valley's Tofu Fast Menu, a new canned product that includes every imaginable health food trend for today's time-pressed consumer.

The item, tofu wieners with either honey-baked white beans, black beans or lentils, takes only three minutes to heat, and is made partially from certified organic ingredients. With a large green salad and Health Valley's Cheddar Lite puffs (the health food version of Cheese Doodles), Tofu Fast Menu can make a complete dinner, says the label -- on the lead-free can, of course.

A READER ASKED:

Q: How in the world do commercial food processors remove the ends from green beans?

A: With automatic bean snippers, what else? According to the National Food Processors Association, this is how they work:

The beans go in one end of a huge revolving drum. Due to the drum's rotary action, the vegetables wiggle into slotted pockets. Sets of curved knives affixed around the drum slice first one end off the bean, then the other. NFPA says a bean snipper can snip four tons of beans per hour. The snipped beans move on for further processing and the ends are made into animal feed, or used as compost.

Botched beans are sent to the UBR (unsnipped bean remover, of course) and are fed through the drum again.

POPCORN CAN BE DANGEROUS to your well being, according to a letter last week in the New England Journal of Medicine -- and not just because of an excess of salt or butter.

Steam bursting forth from a bag of freshly cooked microwave popcorn can cause severe burns to the eyes, according to two New Jersey doctors, Patrick A. DeRespinis and Larry P. Frohman of the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark.

They said they had found three cases of damage to corneas and/or flesh near the eyes caused by steam escaping popcorn bags when they were opened.

DINNER TONIGHT

CHICKEN WITH APPLES AND ONIONS (6 servings)

In this main course, chicken breasts mingle with a suave blend of onions, apple slices and vermouth. Serve the chicken with steamed rice or buttered noodles, and a leafy green vegetable such as braised spinach or collards.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

6 chicken breasts, patted dry on paper towels

About 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spread out on a dinner plate

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 large onion, sliced

1/4 cup white vermouth

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 large tart cooking apple, peeled, halved, cored and sliced

About 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Put the oil and butter in a large skillet and place over moderately high heat. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Brown the chicken breasts in batches in the butter-oil; transfer to a side dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the onions to the skillet, stir-cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the vermouth, chicken broth and chicken; bring to the simmer, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Add the apple slices, cook 5 minutes, flip the chicken breasts and cook 7 to 10 minutes longer, or until cooked through. Remove chicken, reduce the cooking liquid if it is not already lightly condensed; season with salt and pepper, spoon over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Per serving: 402 calories, 55 gm protein, 12 gm carbohydrates, 13 gm fat, 4 gm saturated fat, 151 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium.

Lisa Yockelson