DEAR READERS >> CHRISTMAS is the season for faith, family and friendship. Let us take the time to enjoy our loved ones and remember those we’ve lost. Happy holidays to all!
AN EASIER WAY TO CLEAN?
DEAR HELOISE >> I have read your column for many of my 89 years and enjoyed using some of the hints.
One of the things my mother taught me was this: If you have dishes or utensils with raw egg on/ in them, do not run under hot water. You will cook the eggs and have a more difficult cleaning job.
— Mabel Violet D., Amherst, N.H.
DEAR MABEL VIOLET D. >> DARK VS. LIGHT
DEAR HELOISE >> I was baking cookies and a question came to me: Can you use dark brown sugar if you are out of light? Does the dark have a more intense flavor? I would think it does. If you can, would you use less? Most of my recipes call for regular granulated or light brown sugar. So I was wondering if you would use less of the dark brown sugar and a little more of the regular granulated sugar.
— Susan E., Dayton, Ohio
DEAR SUSAN E. >> Dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown sugar, but if you feel the taste will be too strong, try one of these substitutes:
• Light brown sugar from white sugar: Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid molasses to 1 cup of white granulated sugar.
• Light brown sugar from dark brown sugar: Take 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar and mix it with 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar.
• Dark brown sugar from white granulated sugar: Take 1 cup of white granulated sugar and mix with 1/4 cup of molasses.
DEAR HELOISE >> To Jenny in Texas who hates cold coffee: You can go to any home goods store and buy a hot plate for less than $10. Your coffee will stay hot as long as you need it.
— Jackie in Rogersville, Tenn.
DEAR HELOISE >> Most people like baked ham but can’t tolerate the salt content.
I’m wondering if any of your readers will know how I can extract some of the salt from the ham. Soaking in ice water does not work for me.
— Millie in Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
DEAR MILLIE >> Millie, actually, you’re on the right track. Maybe try soaking the ham in cold water in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for a longer period of time, up to 72 hours. Be sure to change the water every four hours, but you don’t want to remove all of the salt. The ham will spoil more quickly.
DEAR HELOISE >> How can I tell if fish is fresh? I worry about the possibility of contamination.
— Lynn C. in Hawaii
DEAR LYNN C. >> Lynn, look into their eyes. The eyes need to be bright and clear. A fresh fish will have red or pink gills, and the scales will be shiny. Fish that is not fresh can harbor dangerous bacteria. It’s especially important to use only fresh fish and extremely fresh shellfish.