Vacation schedules wreaked havoc with the testing column this week so while Bill, Rich and Edyth are off having fun, Today Section members stepped in as food critics and scarfed up new Tostitos "Salsa & Cream Cheese" chips. The 13.5-ounce bag retails for $2.79.

Nihla Lake (married, two children at home): "Printed on the bag is the bold statement: `You already loved Baked Tostitos!' Wrong! We thought they were bland, tough and tasteless!"Having gotten that out of our system, we can be a little more unbiased about these new mouth-warmers - they really send a message to your taste buds! The chips are still not-so-hot, but the pepper salsa definitely is. At least it keeps wimps from downing a whole bag at one sitting."

Jean Williams (Deseret News food maven and guest tester): "The Baked Tostitos Salsa & Cream Cheese-Flavored, bite-size, 3 grams-of-fat Tortilla Chips were quite a mouthful.

"Initially I was afraid to bite into something that possibly contained the dreadful Olestra curse, but after reading the small print and ruling that out, the tasting became much more enjoyable. Sixteen chips equal 3 fat grams - 'nuff said.

"But the flavor is spicy and addictive - I had a major cold during the taste test - and still savored the flavor. I'd buy these guys - but as far as dancing, I'd give 'em a 6."

Karen Boren (Deseret News test column editor and guest tester): "After 10 years of handing out groceries, it's MY turn to taste them!

"The salsa and cream cheese Tostitos were munchy and tasty. I expect that my 6'4" son Jeremy will inhale the rest of this bag of chips. You might want to run a couple of extra laps for indulging, but I think you'll find they're worth it."

Don Russell (married, five children at home, ages 6-16): "Since we warmly embraced baked Tostitos when they entered the marketplace a couple of years ago, we were delighted to try this new version. We liked the spicy flavor and think others will, too. The chips contain a wee bit of buttermilk and cream cheese. This version does have a little more fat than the regular baked Tostitos."

Linda C. Tingey (single mother, two sons at home): "Why is it that the baked low-fat chips taste better than other low-fat products? The salsa and cream cheese flavor are very light and crispy. Usually, after a few regular chips you feel stuffed but not after eating this brand. For a serving of 6 chips you only get 3 grams of fat. They were very tasty and I will definitely buy them again."

Ray Boren (Today Section associate editor and guest tester): "Baked chips often taste rather bland compared to the ones we're used to, but these turned out to be spicy and tasty and different."

Conclusion: Whoa! Your taste buds will sit up and salute Tostitos' new salsa and cream cheese chips. You can call these chips a Houdini special - they'll disappear on you in a hurry!