DEAR HELOISE: I don’t know how I do it, but every time I try to cook a new recipe, I manage to make a mess of it. I either overcook it or undercook the item. At a family get-together, everyone brought something they had made, and it’s always something outstanding. Not me. I cheated and bought a couple of pies from a local store and never told anyone.
What am I doing wrong in the kitchen that makes my cooking semi-revolting!?
— Jane Y., Henderson, Tennessee
Jane, most cooks have recipes they specialize in such as deviled eggs or maybe a moist chocolate cake. These are the ones they usually bring to gatherings. However, I have some time-honored hints my mother taught me that I’ll pass on to you:
•First, always read the recipe through at least twice to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Don’t just skim through the directions.
•Have you got all the correct ingredients? Make sure, and be certain you have enough of all the ingredients.
•Use accurate measurements. A little too much or too little of something can ruin a recipe.
•Take your time and don’t rush. Not all of us were born to be great cooks, but I’ll bet you’re better at cooking than you realize.
A bachelor’s lament
DEAR HELOISE: I’m a bachelor who just bought his first house. The people before me left a messy microwave that I’ve cleaned but can’t get the odor out of it. In addition to that, their children used crayons to draw on the walls, which needs to be cleaned before I paint. The waxy crayons are hard to remove, so I need some help getting this clean. What should I use?
— Jake M., Cape Coral, Florida
Jake, you can easily remove the artwork the previous children left for you by sprinkling some baking soda on a damp sponge and gently rubbing the area in a circular motion.
As for the microwave that still retains an odor, try this: Put 2 tablespoons of baking powder into 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl and turn on high for about 2-3 minutes or until the water boils and steams the microwave. It will also help any spills left in a microwave.
If you want some simple solutions to many of life’s problems around the house, then you probably need my pamphlet “Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes.” To get a copy, just go to www.Heloise.com or send $5 along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. This pamphlet is a handy little guide for many cleaning solutions.
DEAR HELOISE: I have a teddy bear from my grandmother’s childhood that I have on display in an antique buggy in a guest room. Sadly, he’s gotten grimy after so many years, and I don’t know how to clean him. Any hints you have would be greatly appreciated.
— Paula N., Fitchburg, Wisconsin
Paula, place the bear in a plastic bag and liberally sprinkle baking soda over the bear. After 24 hours, remove the bear from the bag and brush the fur. You’ll be amazed at how much dirt comes off.
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