DEAR HELOISE: Sometimes we have leftover french fries when we dine out. Whenever possible, we ask for a “doggie bag” and save the ones we don’t eat. I take them home and put them in the freezer and use them for breakfast potatoes. I chop them up and mix them with peppers or onions in a potato pancake, or use them as hash browns. My whole family has now started to copy what we do with leftover fries. — Karen W. in San Antonio
DEAR HELOISE: I see a lot of packages in the grocery store that say “Gluten Free.” Is it dangerous to eat gluten?
— Lana A., Findlay, Ohio DEAR READER: Some people cannot eat gluten because it damages their small intestine. If you don’t have this problem or allergies to grains, you probably can eat gluten-containing products. If you have any doubt, please check with your doctor.
DEAR HELOISE: We bought some pepper jack cheese and saw that it contained “ghost peppers.” What in the world is that? I thought it might be peppers that don’t show up in the cheese.
— Curious in Texas DEAR READER: I was curious, too, so I called a cheesemaker in Wisconsin and found out that there is such a thing as a ghost pepper (that’s its proper name), and it is one of the hottest of all the peppers.
DEAR HELOISE: I enjoy entertaining, but since I don’t like to cook, my mother told me to make an easy meal, but make it look really pretty and your guests will think you’re a great cook.
— Alice B., Lima, Ohio
DEAR HELOISE: My husband loves going out for sushi, but I don’t care to eat raw fish. I’ve heard too many stories about parasites, and am worried we’ll pick up something.
— Sarah N., Arizona DEAR READER: I did some investigating and found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that seafood be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. However, for die-hard sushi lovers, there are some dishes that have cooked fish. Sushi also includes dishes that have no seafood, or whose main ingredients are vegetables or egg. The likelihood of picking up a parasite is small in a clean, reputable restaurant, and there are several health benefits of eating sushi.