Helpful Hints
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Helpful Hints

May 28, 2023

DEAR HELOISE: Some readers of your column use plastic bags to grease a pan. When finished, they just discard the plastic bag, and there's no mess or cleanup required.

We, as a society, use too many disposable items such as plastic bags, utensils, paper towels, paper plates, plastic water bottles, etc. Many of these can't be recycled, or if they can, not many people take advantage of it. While it is easier to toss it in the trash, plastic bags and bottles end up in our oceans, and microplastics have been found in the marine life.

To grease a pan or cookie sheet, I use a silicone pastry brush to spread the grease. It works just as well and is washable. One can also use a clean hand. For our barbecues, we use the odds and ends of dishes and utensils. Yes, it does create more work in that they need to be washed, but the dishwasher takes care of that. We all should be concerned about the environment -- not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren as well.

-- Lucia F.,

Staten Island, N.Y.

DEAR HELOISE: Here are some tips for the reader who is on a low-sodium diet. First of all, toss out your salt shakers. You don't need them. Never put salt on cooked food on your plate. There are salt substitutes. I use sea salt with cooking and baking. There are many spices and herbs you can add to flavor your food. If you don't want to use fresh herbs, dried herbs are perfect. Be sure to get them in powder, not salt, form (garlic powder, for example, not garlic salt).

Read labels. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables if possible. Frozen foods are better than canned foods, which sometimes have added salt. Avoid potato chips and junk food.

I read your column every day.

-- Carolyn McDonough,

Canaan, Conn.

DEAR HELOISE: Love your answer about deodorizing smelly hands. However, I have a simpler solution. Just wet the smelly hands and rub on the stainless steel faucet or on a stainless steel sink. So simple.

-- Jo Ann,

Metairie, La.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

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