DEAR HELOISE: When I order a steak or a hamburger well done, it means well done all the way through without any pink in the middle.
Last week my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, and they brought me a steak that was almost raw. I ordered well done, but a steak bleeding on my plate is not well done. I asked them to take it back to the kitchen and cook it, which the waiter did, but it came back in nearly the same condition. My husband asked to speak with the manager and asked why they couldn't just cook the steak. The manager said it was cooked. We left shortly after that.
When I see a steak or any meat that's bleeding on my plate or raw in the center, I lose my appetite. I think of all the bacteria and blood, and I just gag. That's me. Some people may argue that "well done" ruins a steak, but I don't care. It's how like my steak done, and I resent a waiter telling me I don't know what I'm talking about when I ask for well done.
-- Sarah S., Anaheim, Calif.
DEAR READERS: Things to pack for a road trip (long or short):
• Emergency road kit with flares, can of tire inflator, etc.
• Mini first aid kit
• A towel or old blanket
• Umbrella in glove compartment
• Additional water (reuse a large plastic milk container)
DEAR HELOISE: When we are invited to a dinner party, I like to take a hostess gift. If I choose flowers, I have a selection of vases at home that I have bought from Goodwill or a similar store at a very reasonable price. I can then present a nice bouquet of flowers trimmed and ready for display, saving the hostess from having to deal with one more thing.
-- Melissa J., Hunting Beach, Calif.
DEAR HELOISE: The plastic shopping bags we get at stores can be reused for other trips or to carry various items; however, they need to be cleaned. Those bags pick up germs, so I fill up the kitchen sink with soapy water and take the plastic bags, put them in the soapy water and let them soak for a while. I sort of swish them around, then rinse them and hang them on the line to dry.
-- Karen M., Lawton, Okla.
DEAR HELOISE: I always keep a backup supply of most foods. That way, I hardly ever run out of anything.
I like to arrange flowers, so I bought a plastic sheet at the fabric store. I place it over the washer whenever I want to arrange flowers. It keeps debris out of the washer and protects the finish.
I hung hooks in the garage and use them to hang my rotating collection of wreaths.
-- Christine V., Salem, Ore.
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email