ON good days, Susan Moskowitz dreams of being the next Mrs. Fields. On bad days, she has nightmares of bankrupting her family.
A 50-year-old California mother and budding food entrepreneur, she is the founder and embodiment of Mrs. Moskowitz's Munchies, a kosher, natural-food snack made with nuts, honey, dried fruit and matzoh.

Though her business is not yet profitable, Mrs. Moskowitz is succeeding in getting her name around. Neiman Marcus has ordered and reordered Munchies for all 17 of its stores. Bloomingdale's has them in 6 stores, selling Munchies in 2 sizes: 3 ounces for $4.50 and 7 ounces for $10.50.
The biggest boost came last month, with the trophy at the Fancy Food Show and the attention that it brought from the crowd of buyers there. One buyer, Charlotte Price of Neiman Marcus, was an early fan of the Munchies. Mrs. Moskowitz mailed them to Ms. Price at her Dallas office, and she got lucky: Ms. Price tasted them.

Ms. Price said in an interview that her first reaction to the Munchies was, "Great!" But then she did a double take. "I said, 'Matzoh? No way.' Who would have thought?" Then, referring to the resemblance of a bag of Munchies to a sorry pile of broken crackers, Ms. Price added, "It's not the most attractive thing in the world, but it is addictive."

The night of the awards ceremony, Mrs. Moskowitz sat in a front-row seat on a stage with dozens of other nominees in numerous categories. Many represented well-established companies like Balducci's, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Sarabeth's Kitchen.

"I am so excited," Mrs. Moskowitz said before the ceremony. "I never won anything this big, except for a Camp Fire Girls award for selling the most cookies."

No one in the crowded room could have missed her. She was the gray-haired woman dressed in a smart-looking pants suit and her ever-present "Mrs. Moskowitz's Munchies" baseball cap. The hat is a low-budget, sure-fire publicity gimmick.

"Every time I get on an airplane, at least five people ask me, 'What is that?' " she said.
She wore the hat when she pulled off a publicity coup on the "Today" show last fall while on a visit to New York. After standing in line for an hour in a freezing rain outside the studio, she succeeded in getting her face on television long enough to tell 11 million viewers that she was doing a tasting demonstration with Mrs. Moskowitz's Munchies at Neiman Marcus in White Plains.