OPINION

Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: Recently, one of your readers asked if cooking was a lost art because her child's family either orders food to be delivered or eats outside the home. But cooking is definitely alive and thriving in my daughter's family.

They cook together, and my young grandchildren love to cook. My 8-year-old grandson can name the ingredients in all of his favorite recipes.

Last summer, while visiting, he told me one of his favorite dinners was stuffed peppers. He listed the ingredients, such as cooked Spanish rice, tomatoes, black beans, corn and cheese. He added that the peppers should not be too "squishy." We prepared it together, and it was delicious.

-- Carol K,

Edwardsville, Ill.

DEAR HELOISE: I usually make my own salad dressing with oil, vinegar and pressed garlic, but after a party with too much dip left over, I added a spoonful of it to my dressing, which made for a yummy, creamy variation of my dressing.

-- Lisa M.,

Martinsburg, W.Va.

DEAR READERS: If you need to soothe a minor burn, mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water. Apply this mixture to the burned area and cover with a cool, damp cloth for relief.

DEAR READERS: Got an old, chipped coffee mug that you don't drink out of anymore, but want to keep anyway?

Use it to scoop out dog or cat food from a large bag.

Turn the chipped side toward the wall and use it to hold a small bouquet of flowers.

Plant a succulent in it and place it in a small space.

Keep loose change inside the mug for coin-operated machines.

DEAR HELOISE: I want to share my idea on how to keep hairspray from getting on cupboards and unwanted areas.

After I shower, I hang the towel over the shower rod. When I spray my hair, I stand in front of the towel. The extra hairspray lands on the towel, and I simply launder it out.

-- Peggy Ankerman,

Wapakoneta, Ohio

DEAR HELOISE: Down here in New Orleans, I use old flannel-backed plastic tablecloths to cover tender vegetation when the occasional freeze comes. The flannel touches the leaves and protects them from being "burned" by the cold plastic, and the plastic shields them from the elements.

-- Kathleen Schrenk,

New Orleans

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

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