Dear Readers: Are you “holidayed out”? Maybe a trip to a buffet restaurant is in order, but first let’s talk food safety.

An important safety factor on the buffet is temperature control. If food, like seafood, is piled up on the buffet, the temperature will not be consistent throughout. This can lead to bacterial growth.

Along those same lines, give the soup a hearty stir before ladling. This will help to give a consistent temperature, and you’ll get a good mix of veggies.

Always get a fresh plate for each trip, and sample lots of different foods.

One more thing: The handle of the serving tongs should not touch the surrounding foods.

— Heloise

P.S. It should go without saying, but wash hands before and after dining.

An oldie but goody

Dear Heloise: I am a retired antiques dealer, and I have found that keeping silver items clean and shiny is easy using baking soda. I set the item in warm water and rub the soda onto it with my fingers. If the piece is very dark, I use a soft toothbrush, rinse and dry.  

This works wonders on jewelry, and is even better on flatware because it is ready to use without any residue.

 — Janice C., El Segundo

Janice, baking soda is a great, environmentally sound cleaner. A couple of caveats: Oxidized and heirloom pieces shouldn’t be cleaned; it could diminish their value.

Baking soda should be in everyone’s cleaning closet: It’s cheap, safe and readily available. I’ve compiled a collection of my best baking soda hints and recipes in a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It’s easy! Visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send $5, plus a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. There are good commercial silver polishes on the market, but give baking soda a go first, and start saving money!

— Heloise

It’s a bit stuffy in here

Dear Heloise: When the holidays are over, I stuff the loops of my bows with newspaper sleeves and store them in a large bag. Next year, if the tails are a bit wrinkled, I touch them up with a warm iron.

 — Sandra H., Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Tong tote

Dear Heloise: I use paper towel cores to store kitchen tongs. I wrap the tube with packing tape or decorative contact paper for added strength and slide the closed tongs into the tube. Saves space and clutter in the drawer.

 — Jerry in Okeechobee, Fla.

Hook ‘em

Dear Heloise: I’m frustrated with public restrooms not having somewhere to put one’s purse. Too often, there isn’t a hook or a small shelf in the stall or room.  

It’s uncomfortable to hold the purse while using the facilities, and it’s gross to think about putting it on the floor.

— Karen B., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.