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Tips for the Kitchen and Home


Cooking Tips


Salt improves the taste of cooking apples.

Clean your greens in salt water for easier removal of dirt.

Gelatin sets more quickly when a dash of salt is added.

Fruits put in mildly salted water after peeling will not discolor.

Milk stays fresh longer when a little salt is added.

Put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker for easier pouring.

Add salt to green salads to prevent wilting.

Adding a little salt to the water when cooking foods in a double boiler will make the
food cook faster.

A dash of salt in warm milk makes a more relaxing beverage.

A dash of salt enhances the taste of tea.

Soak your nuts in salt brine overnight and they will crack out of their shells whole. Just
tap the end of the shell with a hammer to break it open easily.

Test the freshness of eggs in a cup of salt water; fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.

A pinch of salt improves the flavor of cocoa.

Add a little salt to your boiling water when cooking eggs; a cracked egg will stay in its
shell this way.

Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won't stick.

Add a pinch of salt to whipping cream to make it whip more quickly.

A dash of salt improves the taste of coffee.

Date: 25 Jun 2001 02:39:24 GMT

Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

When cooking corn-on-the-cob  in-the-husk I have found it so much easier
this way.  Formerly, I would pull back the husk, and bit by stringy bit, remove
the bothersome corn silk.  I now cook it in the microwave in the husk.  First I
hold it under the faucet and get it thourughly wet,  put it in the microwave
for about 5 or 6 minutes. Then, *after* it is cooked I remove the husk and
the corn silk just all comes off  with the husk.  No more bits of stringy corn
silk everywhere.  Wish I known this years ago.

A nice visitor sent me these great tips so I will share them with you.

Wed, 8 Mar 2000
From:  nrhamlin

Two suggestions regarding your kitchen tips.  1)  An herb farmer told me basil hates to be cold.  He told me to treat it like a bouquet of flowers - trim the ends of the stems, put it in a glass of water and store it
on the kitchen counter. I've been doing this for years and it works great - will keep for 2-3 weeks!  2)

Also, sounds gross but a chef taught me to separate an egg by breaking it into the cupped palm of my hand (a clean hand, of course!), separating my fingers slightly, and the white part just slides through into your bowl and the yolk remains intact in your hand.   This method also eliminates that annoying passing of the yolk back and forth between the shell halves and the possiblity of broken yolks dribbling into the whites.  Just thought you might find these tips interesting.

Note from me:I agree this is the best way in the world to separate the egg yolk from the whites.Thank you.


Add a little sugar to the batter.
Or,add a little applebutter--this is my favorite method.

Want to bake those potatoes and have them crisp and brown?{We're not countin'
the ones you burned up.)

Soak the peeled potatoes in hot water for a while.Pat dry and pierce all over with a fork before placing them in hot fat along with the roast.

Does your roast chicken look like you after being out of the sun all winter?

To give that chicken a "golden tan",spread it with lemon juice all over before you park the little dear in the oven.

*Use muffin pans to make extra-large ice cubes for punch.

*Rub your soup pot with a garlic clove for a tastier soup.

*A cake, cupcakes, or muffins will be less likely to stick if you put the pan on a wet towel to cool immediately after removing it from the oven.

*Ingredients for cakes should be at room temperature when you use them;ingredients for pastry dough should be ice cold.

*Tenderize tough cuts of meat by rubbing both sides with vinegar and
olive oil. Let stand (in refrigerator) two hours before cooking.

*Use a cookie dropper to make uniform meatballs.

*For juicier hamburgers, add a stiffly beaten egg white to each pound of
hamburger. This works great with lower fat (90/10) ground meat.

*No one knows why, but if you store a carton of cottage cheese upside down,it will keep indefinitely. I have found this to also be true of sour cream.(Set it in a saucer in case of a tiny leak in the lid.)

*For a fluffier omelet, add a pinch of cornstarch to the beaten egg mixture.

*When heating frozen mixed vegetables or other frozen vegetables
that you might tend to want to add butter to, add a chicken bouillon cube
or chicken soup base to the water for a rich, satisfying flavor, with few calories.Do not salt!

*Add one tablespoon of corn syrup to brownie batter (box mix or scratch) for brownies that are extra fudgy.


If you put too much mayo into your chicken or tuna salad, fix our blunder
fast by adding bread crumbs.


To fire up a charcoal grill without getting your hands all dirty, fill
individual paper grocery bags with enough briquettes for one barbecue each.
When ready to cook, place one entire bag on the grill and light.


Revive raisins, prunes or dried apricots that have hardened or shriveled up by placing one cup at a time in a small bowl and sprinkling with 1
tablespoon of water.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High 30-60 seconds or until plump and soft, stirring halfway through.  Let stand, covered, 2-3 minutes.  Drain remaining liquid.

Give color and taste to your ice cubes by placing a small piece of fruit
into each section of the ice cube trays before freezing.


Keep a small spray bottle filled with one part lemon juice to one part
water in our refrigerator.  When cutting fresh fruit, spritz it with the mixture to prevent discoloring.


When reheating leftover meat, lay lettuce leaves between slices to prevent the meat from becoming dry and tough.

 *Use LifeSavers candy to hold candles in place on your next birthday cake!

*Zap garlic cloves in the microwave for 15 seconds and the skins slip right off!

*Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake batter onto the hot
griddle--perfect shaped pancakes every time!

*To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes!

*Use a pastry blender to cut ground beef into small pieces after browning!

*Sweeten whipped cream with confectioners' sugar instead of granulated sugar--it will stay fluffy and hold its shape better!

*For easy meat loaf mixing, combine the ingredients with a potato masher!

*Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan and marshmallows won't stick to your fingers!

*To quickly use frozen juice concentrate, simply mash it with a potato
masher--no need to wait for it to thaw!

True story:Every cook has their story about when they first learned to cook.One of the cutest and true ones goes like this:She followed each step of making the cookies,making sure not to waver from the directions one iota.The recipe read:Leave room for cookies to spread.She promptly left the kitchen,went into the next room and sat down.Several minutes later it dawned on her;she didn't have to leave the room.Redfaced,she returned to the kitchen and the cookies finally made it into the oven.
Note:Shore hope the recipe didn't say use "whole eggs"--the batter would have been a might crunchy,huh?

Unless otherwise specified, bake on the middle rack in your oven.(Shore glad she didn't read this tip).


   Chocolate scorches easily, so always melt it over hot - not boiling
  water.  It is best to use a double boiler, but you can improvise by
  using a c  or bowl in a small saucepan over very gentle heat.  The
  water must be kept below simmering to prevent steam from curling up
  and hitting the chocolate. If steam gets into the melted chocolate it
  will immediately thicken the mixture to a stiff mass.  If this does
  happen, however, you can rescue the chocolate by softening it again.
  To do this, add 1-2 tb of vegetable shortening (never use butter as
  it contains moisture which will cause the chocolate stiffen even
  more!) to the chocolate and stir vigorously.  You can also melt
  chocolate directly over very low heat in a heavy gauge saucepan, but
  you must watch the mixture carefully.


   Use a vegetable peeler with a long narrow blade and a chunk or bar
  of chocolate.  Warm chocolate and blade slightly.  Be sure your
  peeler is absolutely dry.  Draw the peeler along the smooth surface
  of the chocolate.


   Be sure that the block of chocolate is cool and firm.  Grate on hand
  grater, cleaning the grater often so that the chocolate doesn't clog
  the surface of the blade.  You cn use a blender, but be sure to cut
  the chocolate into sm pieces first.


   Chocolate should be stored in a cool, dry place at a temperature of
  about 60F. If the chocolate becomes too warm, the cocoa butter rises
  to the surface and forms a dusty gray film known as "bloom."  This
  "bloom" is not harmful and, once the chocolate is melted, it returns
  to its natural rich brown color.  If you do store chocolate in the
  refrigerator or freezer, take in out and let it stand until it
  returns to room temperature before you use it in a recipe. Chocolate
  is very sensitive to sudden changes of temperature and you will not
  get the best results if you do not treat it with respect.

  Origin: Farm Journal's Choice Chocolate Recipes Posted in COOKING by:
  Sharon Stevens 8/10/93

*VEGGIE TIP:To keep vegetables fresh and crisp, trim and clean them as needed, not in advance and store root vegetables with roots intact.
Added 3/25/99

*CURRY:I bet you already knew this--Curry, the spice traditionally used in Indian cooking does not grow on trees! It is a blend of as little as 5 and as many as 20 spices.This tidbit was passed on to me by a visitor.Thank you!

*LIKE TO USE OLIVE OIL AS A SPREAD ON BREAD? Pour  the olive oil into a clean, empty plastic container, cover and freeze. After the olive oil is very thick,you can then easily use it as a spread for your bread.Rhymes,doesn't it?

*DON'T STORE TOGETHER:The gas in apples (ethyline)makes carrots bitter.Potatoes and onions don't do well stored in the same bin,either.


Need to clean:
Instead of cutting around the stem, turn the pepper stem side down, cut most of the way through, break it the rest of the way, and easily break the stem away from whichever half it stayed with. Clean seeds and pulp from inside. Wash clean,unless you just like seeds everywhere.

*OLD ASPARAGUS?(kinda sounds like a relative,huh?)

Add a pinch of sugar (for sweetness) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt (to
 help retain color and flavor) to each cup of cooking water.

If you overcooked the poor things, but you have a can of cream of
anything soup on hand, chop the overcooked asparagus and combine with the soup. Serve it hot as a first course.

*AVOCADOS(don't try to convince the family you created "blackened avocado"--they'll never buy that one)

The simplest method to inhibit darkening is to restore the
avocado meat to the vicinity of the pit. The pit somehow retards
darkness. If you've only cut the avocado in half, close it back up
around the pit. If the meat is in a bowl, put the pit in the bowl. You
can also sprinkle lemon/lime juice on the exposed flesh, or cover it
with a layer of margarine or mayonnaise.


Wash in warm water to loosen the dirt, eggs, nits, bugs, and worms. Now that you have learned what might be in your greens, you've probably thrown them in the garbage and bought some nice canned lettuce. Not to worry. Washing really works. (If they are especially dirty, you can even add some mild soap to the water.) Rinse well in cold water (At least 4 times if you have used soap) until clean.

*HARD TO SEPARATE(like your two kids who fight all the time)

If you can't separate the leaves of a lettuce or other tightly packed green vegetable easily, hit the stem end sharply on the counter; then twist out the core (It should come out easily if you hit it hard enough), and run cold water vigorously in the hole you have created. The leaves will separate easily.

If your lettuce or other greens are looking rusty, store them in a plastic bag along with a couple of paper napkins to adsorb the excess moisture, which is the problem.

For regular loosely packed greens, let them drip into a colander; wrap them lightly in an absorbent towel, and chill.For Bibb and other bullheaded greens, place them on a towel, cover with a plain towel, and chill for an hour or two. If you need greens right away and they're wet, throw them in a pillow-case and spin them dry on the spin cycle of your
washing machine for a minute or two.

 If you have an hour, dip the greens in hot water, then in ice water with a dash of vinegar. Shake the excess liquid from them, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.


When green onions start wilting, you can revive them by replanting them! Simply stick the root end in the ground,and it will take root and be healthy again. This works only with green onions.I'm glad it doesn't work with people since some are hard enough to put up with in one lifetime,much less a second go round.


Wilted, soft, soggy;
Soak them in ice water for 2-3 hours. Option: Add tablespoon of vinegar or the juice of one lemon to the water.This will crisp them up!

*CORN BREAD won't stick to the baking pan if you grease it well, then sprinkle with cornmeal.

*548 peanuts are needed to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter.(I have no idea why anyone would ask you,but now you will know the answer to this question if they do).Aren't we just the handiest thing since pockets?

*Use a potato peeler to slice cheese for garnishing.

*Wash berries just before eating. Washing too far ahead of time will soften them up.


You can plump us shriveled raisins by simmering them in just enough water to cover them, for 3-4 minutes.(too bad this doesn't work for our wrinkles,huh? girls) Or put a thin layer in a dish, just covering them with water, and cook them on high in a microwave for five minutes. Let stand an additional five minutes. Use part rum or sherry if you wish. Then you won't care.I know raisins are supposed to be shriveled,but I mean really,really shriveled.We're talkin' slingshot ammunition here.

*Sink to the bottom:
If raisins are sinking to the bottom of your cakes or cookies or whatever, coat them lightly with flour and they will disperse themselves throughout the whatever, just the way you wanted.

*Stick together:
 Heat the whole mess of raisins on the oven at 300 degrees for a few minutes, and they will unstick themselves.Wouldn't you?

*Nuke 'em

1.Place an open box of hardened brown sugar in the microwave with 1 cup hot water. Microwave at high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for 1/2 pound or 2 to 3minutes for 1 pound.

2. Soften hard ice cream by microwaving at 30% power. One pint will take 15 to 30 seconds; 1 quart, 30-40 seconds; and 1/2 gallon 45-60 seconds.

3. One stick of butter or margarine  will soften in 1 minute when
microwaved at 20% power.

4. Soften one 8-ounce package of cream cheese by microwaving at 30% power for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. One 3-ounce package of cream cheese will soften in 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.


Pour boiling water over the oranges and let them stand for 5 minutes. The peels will come of very easily and so will the white stuff under the peel. The peel is permanently loosened by this technique, so you can do it in advance and still refrigerate the oranges. This process also tends to make the juices considerably juicier.

*Ice cream container sealed in a plastic bag will stop ice crystals from
forming when it is in the freezer.

*To measure dried herbs, lightly fill the appropriate measuring spoon to the top, keeping the herb as level with the top as possible. Them empty the spoon into your hand and crush the herb with your other hand. This breaks the leaves to better release their flavor.

*To make heart shaped muffins, in each cup of the muffin pan drop in a small marble in between the paper baking liner and the pan.

One jar (7 1/2 oz.) measures approximately 2 1/2 cups and equals about 32 marshmallows...and there's no cutting or melting necessary!

Apples do this when their flesh is exposed to the air. Rub a little
lemon juice on the exposed flesh. If it is already unpleasantly
dark, cut off the dark layer. No lemon juice? Dunk the apple
pieces in slightly salted water until you're ready for them.

If you're in a hurry and want your soda cold,swirl the can in ice water for 5 minutes.I know this works but never figured out why you would do it?

*POTATO CHIP bag open again and they're all stale and yucky?? Pop them in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, let stand for two minutes and they'll be crispy again.

 Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips!

*MONEY SAVERS--With the cost of produce sky rocketing,saving every bit we can adds up.

*Put celery in foil and it will last longer.(I personally place celery in a brown paper bag.You'd be amazed how long it stays fresh.Be sure to remove the plastic that holds the stalk together.) I've discovered this works on all vegetables that tend to get "slimey " (excuse the term)very quickly.

*To keep lettuce fresh much longer,I have found that to remove the plastic wrap and wrapping the entire head in paper towels keeps the moisture from making your head of lettuce look like it's ready for a quick burial.

*Refrigerate mushrooms and eggplant in paper rather than plastic bags to keep them from developing soft, slimy spots.

*Before storing cilantro,parsley and scallions in the refrigerator, air-dry them quickly in front of a fan to minimize wilting. Then store in a plastic bag.

*Stuff a couple of paper towels in the plastic bag with cleaned onions or
radishes and they will stay fresh longer.

*Unless parsley is very young,the stems should be removed. Chop and store in the refrigerator  in a  plastic bag created specially for storing vegetables.(They really are worth the cost.I wash mine out with hot,soapy water,turn inside out,let dry and recycle.)The parsley will remain fresh for about a week.Or as another timesaver:

*Chop a bunch of parsley ahead of time.Roll in dampened paper toweling, overwrap in dry paper toweling, then tuck inside a self-sealing plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh for about a

"The absolutely foolproof way to store fresh basil, chervil, cilantro, parsley, tarragon,and other delicate herbs: Pretend you're arranging long-stemmed roses. Lay each herb stalk gently on its side and slice the stem end off, holding the knife on the bias. Strip off any
wilted leaves. Half fill an iced-tea glass or pint preserving jar with water, mix in a pinch of sugar, stand the herbs in the water, and pop a plastic bag upside down — loosely — over the herbs. Stored in the refrigerator this way,delicate herbs will keep fresh and aromatic for a week or more."

 —Jean Anderson from 1,001 Secrets of Great Cooks,  by Jean Anderson
      (The Berkley Publishing Group: 1995).

Okay,so I'm corny.If I wuz a comic,I'd be makin' a pile of money in Vegas instead of beggin' for sponsors.Anyhows----the next time you make potato salad,use a tad of sweet pickle juice with the salad dressin'.If yer lucky,your potato salad will taste like mine.My recipe has been used by caterers in my town for huge functions.Must know something,huh?

*QUICKIE HAMBURGERS--Poke a hole in the center of hamburger patty. The hole will close as it cooks and cooks much quicker. (If it doesn't,pretend you just invented the world's first hamburger doughnut).Just kidding--this really does work.

*SHRINK LESS SAUSAGE LINKS--(sounds like my waist)
Sausages will shrink less and not break at all if they are boiled about 8 minutes before being fried.

Or, roll lightly in flour before frying.

*LET'S HAM IT UP--pig.gif
To get rid of the rind easily, slit the rind lengthwise on the underside before placing in the roasting pan. As the ham bakes, the rind will pull away and can easily be removed without lifting the ham.

If it's necessary to get the walnut meat out whole, soak overnight in salt water before cracking gently.

*Shells mixed in with nuts: (outside the family,that is)
Dump the whole works into a bowl of water. The shells will float, the meat will sink and if anything else is swimmin',it ain't a nut,heh-heh.A little nut humor.

*No nuts to be found?
In brownies and other such, coarse bran can be substituted. In molasses cake, spice cake etc,brown a cup of rolled oats by spreading on a cookie sheet in a 425F oven (watch carefully) and add before baking.

Bake Brazil nuts at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or freeze. Crack and shell.

*You can easily "peel" hazelnuts by pouring some lightly salted, boiling
water on them. The peel floats up to the surface and you can remove them with a perforated ladle. Then rinse the nuts in cold water to remove the salt from the water.

For fluffier omelets, add a pinch of cornstarch before beating.


Self Rising Flour

4 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tbs salt
2 Tbls plus 1 tsp. baking powder

Sift together all ingredients well, store in zipper storage bags. Can be used in any recipe calling for self rising flour.Makes about 4 1/4 cups


Trick for measuring butter. To measure a 1/4 cup of butter, start with a glass measuring cup. Fill cup with cold water until it reaches the 1/2 cup mark. Now add butter until the water level reaches the 3/4 cup mark .

          1 c Grain alcohol; or vodka
          4 ts Lecithin, liquid

This is similar to "PAM".
Place grain alcohol & lecithin in a small jar & shake to mix.
If you don't like using grain alcohol, it says you can use vegetable oil in its
You can brush this on but a small spray bottle works better. I found that the bottle that throat spray comes in works great as it has a real fine spray. This stuff is super.
 From: Make Your Own Convenience Foods, By Don & Joan German

*ALWAYS ADD CROUTONS to a salad at the last possible moment to prevent sogginess.

*If you double a vegetable recipe, increase the liquids,herbs, and spices by less than one half.

*Cook vegetables without a cover and more of the color will be retained.

*You can slice a round vegetable easily if you first cut a thin, flat lengthwise slice and hold it cut side down against the cutting board as you slice. This will keep the vegetable from slipping around.

Cottage cheese will remain fresher longer if you store it upside down in
the refrigerator. This slows the effects of oxidation.

To keep milk past it's expiration date add salt. A pinch of salt in a
gallon will do it.
The salt slows the rate of bacteria growth.

Brown sugar will not harden if stored in the freezer.

If you freeze wild rice it will last 3-4 months compared to a week in
the refrigerator.

*HAMBURGERS-- Lightly mix ground meat with other ingredients.Over-mixing results in dense, heavy burgers.

*Adding a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil per pound to ground sirloin or round will replenish the moisture and some of the fat.

*Always use wet hands when making hamburger patties.The fat won't stick to you.(We don't need any more of that ,do we girls?)

*For a smoky flavor add 1/4 cup diced cooked bacon or ham before forming into patties.I kind of stole this idea when Jack in the Box started making bacon cheeseburgers.Instead of placing the cooked bacon on the patty after frying like they did,I added it to the raw patty.So good.

*CLEANIN' MUSHROOMS--You can clean strawberries (or mushrooms) without making them soggy by rolling them gently across a damp, clean
sponge .Be sure to rinse off the sponge frequently.But you knew that.


*First, blow on the surface of the water. This will cool the water
down enough so that it will stop boiling over. For a longer term
preventive, toss a lump of butter in the pot; it will flavor the rice
 as well.

As soon as you discover you've burned the rice again,turn off the flame, place the heel of a loaf of bread on top of the rice,cover the pot and wait 5 minutes. Virtually all the scorched taste should disappear into the bread.

Reheat rice without overcooking by putting it in either a big sieve or a colander and placing it over a pan of boiling or simmering water (Depending on how cold it is and how fast you need it). Keep the rice from touching the water.

*Not white enough:
Are you sure is isn't supposed to be brown?Like you never picked up the wrong kind in a hurry,huh?)Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the cooking water, and the rice will whiten.This really gets me.Are we doing laundry here or cookin' rice.

*Too much:
 You can reheat leftover rice, add it to soup,use it as a casserole ingredient or combine with custard to make a rice pudding.(I wonder if rice puddin' ever gits tired of feeling like an afterthought?)

*Uneven cooking:
When rice at the bottom of the pot is cooked and at the top of the pot is raw, it means too much steam is escaping. Give the rice a big stir, cover the pot with either foil or a towel (be sure to fold the loose ends up over the top), replace the lid and keep right on cooking.

*REGARDING TOMATO PASTE, it seems a whole can of tomato paste is many times too much for some recipes. Suggestion: take a piece of waxed
paper, putting it on a cookie sheet and putting teaspoonfuls of the
leftover paste on the paper - another sheet on top and freeze this.
When frozen just peel them off and put them in a baggie and when you
need a tsp. or tbs. of paste you have it without opening a whole can and
there is no waste. --OR-- put small amounts in an ice tray and then just
pop them out when I need them.

*QUICK WHIPPING--(Not the kind you usta git for being bad)
A teaspoonful of cold water added to the white of an
egg causes it to whip more quickly while increasing the quantity.

*MOLDY FRUIT -- What should you do with fruit with mold? Throw it away rather than simply cutting off the mold since mold on fruit goes muchdeeper than what appears on the fruit.

*BROCCOLI USE-- Don't discard the tough ends of broccoli stalks. Use
them for making soups.

Measuring honey with a spoon is easy but getting it all off the spoon is another matter- -so first rub the spoon with margarine. I personally use a vegetable spray .ex.Pam

*DROPPING COOKIE DOUGH-- To get cookie dough to drop without sticking,dip the spoon in milk first.

*LEFTOVER PIE DOUGH -- Extra pie dough? Cover it with some parmesan and gruyere cheese and you'll bake a delicious appetizer--at the very same meal with your pie as dessert.


Hard to cut:
Dip the knife in very cold water.

Weeping:(you or the meringue?)
It tends to do so when it is cooled too fast. Cool it very slowly, by leaving it in the oven as the oven cools for example.

*STORING CAKE -- If you store half an apple in the container which you
are storing a cake, the cake will retain its freshness.

*CHEESY APPLE PIE-- Don't just serve cheese with apple pie, bake it
right in. Spread grated sharp Cheddar on the bottom of the crust before
adding the apple filling.

*STICKING CAKE LAYERS-- Cake layers sticking to the bottom of the pans?
Put them back in a warm oven for a short time. The layers will then come
out without a problem. Or, try lining the bottom of your pans with waxed

*JUICY NEWS --(and you thought I meant gossip)
Always use tongs when turning meat on the grill. This way,you'll avoid piercing the meat, which causes it to lose its natural

*ALWAYS, ALWAYS,ALWAYS heat your pan when frying or sautéing.  Use butter or oil after the pan is hot.  Even your eggs egg.gifstand a chance of comin' outta thar without stickin'.

Sprinkle a little salt into the frying pan to prevent spattering.

*Vinegar brought to a boil in a new frying pan  will prevent stickin'.

*GOT A METAL COLANDER? Invert it over the frying skillet and it will stop you from being blasted with flying debris while allowing the steam to escape.  Or do you love those little burn spots on your face after fryin' Sunday chicken?

*Popping, spattering:
Chicken livers are one to do this, but they won't if you perforate them all over with a fork.

*WHEN TO PICK --The best time to harvest fruits and vegetables for
maximum flavor is in the morning.

Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum
foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the
foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown


1 slice firm textured white bread= 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 slice crisp dry bread= 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

                         WHITE SAUCE IS NOT ELMER'S GLUE
Does your white sauce vary as much as the weather? Stick this on the inside of a cabinet door and that will be one less problem to deal with.

   FLOUR       BUTTER     MILK
Thin      1 tablespoons 1 tablespoon  1 cup milk
Medium     2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons  1 cup milk
Thick     3 tablespoons 3 tablespoons  1 cup milk
Thin white sauce: base for soups and for dishes such as creamed beef, etc.
Medium white sauce: for casseroles and creamed vegetables and as a base for other  recipes.

Thick white sauce: base for soufflés and as a binder for croquettes,(and you thought it was for wallpaper, tsk, tsk)

Use about 1 cup of medium to thin white sauce for 1 1/2 cups cooked vegetables.


                       So You Don't Need Enough Pasta for an Army

   Type of pasta                            Raw                   Cooked
Spaghetti              8 oz.  5 cups
Vermicelli              8 oz.  4 1/2 cups
Thin Spaghetti              8 oz.  4 1//2 cups
Angel Hair (thinnest)              8 oz.   4 cups

Got a house full of company that likes a big breakfast?And you're not a morning person?My mom cooked a large breakfast every morning before daylight and needed all the help she could get.At night before going to bed,she set the table.Just that one simple habit has been a lifesaver for me.There have been times I was so sleepy I would have forgotten to get out the plates,otherwise.

*Did you know you can freeze milk with excellent results?When my son was younger,I would buy extra gallon jugs of milk,pour out about an inch to give room for expansion and pop in the freezer.When defrosted,shake well and tell no one.There is absolutely no difference in taste.If your honey doesn't read the date when purchased,he won't know the difference.

I do hope you'uns ain't in no big hurry to eat.This is gonna take a while. Eb's workin' hard here so let us show a little patience.


Two things makes stock cloudy: letting it boil and not skimming it.

Never allow stock to boil; keep it a slow simmer. Boiling will break up any fat and make the stock cloudy. Keep the lid slightly ajar and that will help you keep it to a simmer.

As the stock heats, a foam scum forms on the surface. Skim that off with a mesh skimmer during the first half hour of cooking. Be sure to wipe the inside of the pot clean, down to the level of  liquid.When the stock is done, strain into  a bowl through a fine meshed strainer or through two layers of wet cheesecloth.  Let the stock cool completely before refrigerating.

Okay, so you don't want to skim stock:(sounds like you 're cheating on Wall Street,don't it?)
You can perk up canned beef stock. Pour a 14 ounce can into a large saucepan. Add about 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1/4 cup chopped carrot, two tablespoons of chopped celery and 2 sprigs of parsley.Simmer over medium heat, stirring every once in a while, for about 30 minutes. Strain and use as you would fresh stock. You'll be surprised how much better your dishes will taste with just this little bit of effort.

In Burgundy, France, they use a rich chicken stock instead of beef stock to make onion soup. Use the chicken broth by itself or add a little dry white wine.

If you're making homemade chicken stock, the older the bird, the better the flavor. (Too bad that doesn't apply to us old human birds.)Grandma's chicken and dumplings always tasted better because she knew which one of the chickens roaming around the yard was ready for the pot. We don't have that choice anymore but just in case you do have the opportunity to select your chicken like some do a lobster, this is the rule to follow.

Any hen whose egg laying days were over went into the pot for the dumplings.About the nearest you can get to that quality nowadays, is to find a 5 to 6 pound roaster.Never boil your dumplings, either.

To stew an old hen, soak in vinegar for several hours before cooking. It will taste like a tender young chicken.(Get out the vinegar,Maudie.I'm willin' to try anythin' at my age.)

Note:Tell Uncle Charlie not to put Aunt Mabel in a pot and try this.It w
For golden brown fried chicken, roll in powdered milk instead of flour before frying .

Add a rib of celery to your bread bag-it will keep the bread fresher, longer.Keep an eye on this trick.In warm weather,it can tend to make the bread spoil quickly but does work very well in cooler weather from my experience.


Did you know that cold numbs the palate, so any soup that is served cold needs extra seasoning.This usually amounts to using twice the amount of fresh hers and maybe 1 1/2 times the amount of dried. Cooking the vegetables in a rich chicken or vegetable broth also adds more flavor.

Soup that needs reducing and thickening will do so a lot  faster if done in a skillet--a good heavy skillet.

If a recipe tells you to keep the lid ajar, it isn't to keep the pot from boiling over. With the lid completely on, you are creating steam that keeps adding liquid to the pot. You could be there a week waiting for the broth to thicken while there's a little rain showering going on under the lid.


To separate eggs, gently crack the eggshell in the center with a knife as you hold the egg over a custard cup or bowl.Slide the egg yolk back and forth from one shell half to the other, allowing the egg white to fall into the cup. Drop the yolk into another cup. TIP: It's easier to separate eggs while they're still cold.

Did you ever get ready to make deviled eggs and spent the next three days at the sink trying to get the shells off?  Follow me.

To shell eggs without the hassle, make sure the eggs are at least several days old before you boil them.To make sure of this, place the eggs in a saucepan of water. If an egg lies on its sides, it's new.If it stands on end, it has a little age.If the egg floats, out it goes. It's too old.

If you plunge the boiled eggs in ice water the moment they are drained, the shell comes off easily.It also helps keep that halo of green we all hate from forming between the yolk and white.

When the eggs are cook, gently tap the shell. This allows you to pull away the thin membrane that surrounds the egg when you peel the egg.


*Hard boiled eggs shouldn't be boiled. They'll get rubbery. (When I first started cooking,I started to patent mine for the world's best ping pong balls.)

*The covered pan should be removed from the heat the minute boiling takes place. Set aside for 15 minutes and the eggs will be done. If the eggs came straight out of the refrigerator, let stand for 20 minutes.

*Not enough eggs?
In baking, you can generally replace 1 in 3 eggs with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Also, for most purposed,2 yolks will substitute for 1 whole egg.

*Keeping eggs fresh:
If you want the eggs nice and neat,please don't wash them.You'll remove the protective coating on the shell and they won't last as long.Instead,wipe them off with a cloth.Would you rather have a clean rotten egg or a  dirty,fresh one?

*Stuck to carton:
Wet the carton and the eggs will come out without cracking.

*Stuck to egg beater, pots etc.:
The secret to cleaning eggs off utensils is to use cold water, not hot water.

*Giving chickens a break--
Egg whites can be kept frozen up to 1 year. Add them to a plastic container as you collect them for use in meringues, angel food cake.  1 cup equals 7 or 8 egg whites. You can also refreeze defrosted egg whites.

*Off center yolks: (never mind the strange looks)
You can't change them now, but next time, roll the raw egg a couple of feet horizontally (always in the same direction)Helpful to know if you plan on making deviled eggs.


We're not talkin' extra calories here.I've put a pie into the oven before, fat and standing tall. What I removed from the oven was the obese pancake.Well, no more.

There is only one sure way to guarantee yourself the pie will be plump. To a recipe of fruit filling, add an extra 2 cups of prepared fruit.Put the fruit, sugar, butter and seasonings in a skillet and cook, uncovered, over medium heat just until the fruit releases most of its juice. Drain the fruit, then boil the juice until reduced by half. Add the juice to the fruit and mix carefully. Don't beat the fruit to a pulp. Fill the pie shell, mounding fruit in the middle so that it's about 2 inches higher than at the rim.Pretty as a picture. Don't forget to cut steam slits.


*For a shiny crust, brush with 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Helps break down the egg yolk.

*For a satin finish crust, brush with a little milk or cream.

*For a little crunch, sprinkle the glazed top crust with 1 tablespoon sugar.

*To keep the bottom crust from being soggy, brush with beaten egg white and let air dry before filling.

*For a crisp crust, set the pie on a preheated heavy duty baking sheet in the oven . Start the pie at 425 and after 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 375.


The type of apple used in your pie says a lot about the results you'll see.  Golden Delicious apples are a good choice because they hold their shape. We all hear about Granny Smith apples for our pies, but they cook to mush if used alone.

*To boost the flavor of your pie, try some brown sugar instead of granulated.

For soups and stew, add cut raw potatoes and discard after they've cooked and absorbed the salt.

*Or, add a teaspoon each of cider vinegar and sugar.

 Add salt.

If it's a main dish or vegetable, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar.

  To loosen up a cake stuck to a pan, placing boiling water under the cake pan.The steam with release the cake.

Color with a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet.

To avoid the problem in the first place, brown the flour well before adding the liquid.  This also helps prevent lumpy gravy.(Does hubby think that's the only way gravy comes?)  I'll never tell--what wuz that number?

Mix water and flour or cornstarch into a smooth paste.  Add gradually, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil.  My mom taught me years ago to remove the pot from the heat before adding this, stir well and return to heat.  It's much easier to keep smooth this way.

Try instant potato flakes instead of flour.  This tip has been a lifesaver over the years!


Keep a jar with a mixture of equal parts of flour and cornstarch.  Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of this mixture in another jar and add some water. Shake, and in a few minutes you will have a smooth paste for gravy.  Don't you just  love it, darling?


 Now that your hubby knows gravy shouldn't have lumps the size of potatoes in it, we'd better straighten up those mashed potatoes that could pass for wallpaper paste.  You know the ones we've all made at one time or another?

*Overcooked potatoes can become soggy when the milk is added.  Sprinkle with dry powdered milk  for the fluffiest mashed potatoes ever. If you will shake the pan around and make sure the potatoes are dry, heat up the milk before pouring it in, you won't have soggy potatoes to begin with.  I never use whole milk.

*Evaporated milk must have been created just for mashed potatoes.


If you don't have a lot of time to soften up  the mess, simply grate the hardened lump of brown sugar 'til you have the amount you need.  Waste not, want not.


Boil them in salted water for about 10 minutes before popping into a very hot oven.

Cut a thin slice from each end before popping into the oven.

Insert a nail to shorten the baking time by 15 minutes.

 NOTE:  Those newfangled microwaves don't "bake" potatoes-they're steamed.  Putting foil on them before placing them in the regular oven also steams them.  Scrub 'em, put'em on the bare rack and bake the poor dears for a change.  You'll be surprised.

You'll cry a lot less if you cut the root end of the onion off last.
Freeze or refrigerate before chopping.  (Freezing will soften them, be warned.)
Or, every once in a while rinse your hands under cold water while chopping

Pour a little white vinegar on your chopping board before chopping onions. It will absorb the fumes.
For double protection, burn a candle as you work. The flame neutralizes the fumes.

Grandma's way was to chop onions with a slice of bread  between her lips. Or was she just hongry?

If you aren't lucky enough to have a patch of fresh tomatoes grownin', buy canned tomatoes for your cooking--except salads, of course.  Wouldn't that be a mess?   Anyway, the canneries have access to the cream of the crop that you flatlanders will never be able to buy in the store.(Just let people think you went to all the trouble of removing those pesky tomato skins before  creating your masterpiece.Hide the cans in the bottom of the trash.)

 *I can't attest to this being true since I never have a rutabaga handy (does anyone?)when the need arises,but to keep a griddle from smoking,the tip is to rub it with a  rutabaga cut in half..People swear it works so----

*MISTREATMENT OF TOMATOES AIN'T ALLOWED--I'm sure there's a law agin it out thar somwars. (Thar's a law about everythin' ain't there?)

Exposure to direct sunlight softens tomatoes instead of ripening them,  Leave the tomatoes,stem-up, in any spot where they will be out of direct sunlight.

If a rich relative leaves you a genuine tomato, don't chill the little thing.  You'll be surprised how much better it tastes being left at room temperature until just a while before you eat it. Cool it off 30 minutes before serving.

If you absolutely must, green tomatoes can be ripened by wrapping in a wet dish cloth and placing in a paper bag.  My green tomatoes go into a skillet personally.

Warmth,not sunlight ripens a tomato.Keep them out of the bright sunlight.Don't sunburn the little darlings.


I  ain't talkin' about weight reduction.  If time allows, the best way to remove fat is to refrigerate until the fat hardens on the top.

*Eliminate fat from soup by dropping ice cubes into the pot.  As you stir, the fat will cling to the cubes like it does to a woman's hips after 40.

*Lettuce leaves also attract fat.  Place a few in the pot and watch the fat cling.  Now, if you catch that particular relative swathed in lettuce leaves, tell her not only does she look like a nut but that it only works in cooking.

*If you prop up one leg of your electric fry pan, you can make relatively grease free hamburgers or do your bacon this way.  For myself, I pour a glass of water in the bottom of my broiling pan, and sling'em in the oven.  No smoke, and very little grease on those burgers.

*Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the fat in which you are going to deep fry.  It will keep the food from absorbing too much fat and eliminate the greasy taste.  Now we do know to do this BEFORE heating the grease, don't we?

*Pardon the pun but let's use our noodle.Okay?

 For perfect noodles, add them to boiling water, then turn off the heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Noodles won't stick to the pan, won't overcook and there's no need to stir the pot.

     An indicator on a box of confectioners sugar of how many times it has been ground. The  higher the number of X's the finer the grind.

 * The lid on most brands of vanilla equals one teaspoon. When you are in a hurry, just use the cap to measure.


If the peel is slightly loose, run hot water over the garlic and the peel should come of readily. If the peel is just plain hard to get off, drop the garlic into boiling water for 5 seconds,then in cold water. Now the peel should come of easily.

Well, honey, the cat needs feedin' Bossy the cow needs milkin' and there's a pan of cornbread waitin' to be made. So, until our next visit, I'll just thank you kindly for droppin' in and will look forward to our next visit. Give me a holler at my e-mail below.

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"Going Home" does not assume responsibility for advice given. All  advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.

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