DEAR READERS: Today’s Sound On is about store-brand products:
“I buy store-brand products and save money on our grocery bill. My friend said that he won’t buy a store ‘no name’ brand because he thinks they are just not as good as the national brand. What do you think?”
— N.M.I., via email I’m with you. Many times the store brand and the national brand have the same quality, and the savings can amount to quite a bit over time.
Do the Heloise test: Buy one of each and open them at the same time. Most times, you will find that they are the same or almost the same, or it does not really matter. If you are not happy with the store brand, take it back, and the retailer will refund your money.
DEAR READERS: Hints to use old hardcover books: ■ Stack several and display a plant.
■ Use to elevate a computer screen.
■ Hold down tablecloths outdoors.
■ A booster seat for children.
DEAR HELOISE: We use a lot of different cheeses, but it seems to go moldy before we can finish it all. Help!
— J.Y., via email DEAR READER: The key is to wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap, then put into a zipper-top bag. Keeping air out helps prevent cheese from getting moldy. This is particularly important with soft cheeses.
For hard cheese, such as cheddar or Swiss, dampen a paper towel with just a splash of vinegar, wrap the cheese in the towel, then cover with plastic wrap and put it into a plastic bag. Vinegar does kill and prevent most molds from growing, and it won’t hurt the cheese. Storing cheese this way shouldn’t affect its taste. If you buy different cheeses, buy the smallest size you can to be sure it’s to your liking.
DEAR HELOISE: I have a red, white and blue bedspread. The label reads “dry clean only.” Can I launder it without it fading?
— Jenny in Omaha, Neb. DEAR READER: Jenny, if the label says “dry clean only” and you care about the spread, you should indeed do as instructed. If the tag says “dry clean,” you may be able to wash it without harm. Test a small red spot with cold water on a cotton swab. See red? Don’t wash the spread!