Dear Héloïse: A woman wrote about all the uses of a potato masher. I do similar things with my U-shaped pastry blender, which I inherited from my parents. It’s a wall decoration in my kitchen, with its bakelite handle. But I take it off and use it to mash guacamole, mix ingredients in meatloaf, etc. It’s a vintage treasure that’s also a useful kitchen tool.
I don’t often make pastry or pie crust, but it is sometimes used for its intended purpose. It brings back good family memories. —Rusti Stover, Houston
PLANT CARE TIPDear Héloïse: Get a children’s paddling pool, fill it halfway with water and put it under a tree. Put your potted plants in water and the plants will be in good condition when you return. —Patricia Roberts, Bellaire, TX
VINEGAR TO THE RESCUEAfter washing a wax-free floor, add several capfuls of vinegar to the water to help remove any remaining soap film and leave the floor clean and shiny.
Vinegar is an indispensable and safe household product that can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and cooking. — Heloise
UNKNOWN NUMBERSDear Héloïse: Regarding the writer who receives calls from staff from their private phones about her mother in care: when she receives a call from one of them, she can record it in his phone as “Nursing Home”. Then, when she receives a call from one of the saved numbers, it will show up on the caller ID as “Care Home”. She can log any number of calls under “Care Home” or whatever name she chooses. Maybe “News about Mom”? – Was there
SAUCE TIPDear Héloïse: A reader from Omaha was having trouble with her sauce and wanted to know what she was doing wrong. It was lumpy and was the worst sauce her husband had ever tried. My suggestion is to tell her husband to go into the kitchen and make his own sauce. —Don Atkinson, Saratoga Springs, New York
PET-PALDear Héloïse: Sasha is my 5-year-old kitty. I adopted him when he was 6 weeks old, along with his mother, Sofya, a stray who had six kittens just days after being rescued from the streets. Sasha and Sofya look exactly alike. — Karen McCarthy, Longmeadow, Mass.
Readers, to see Sasha take a spin on her catnip sled and other Pet Pals, head over to Heloise.com and click “Pet of the Week.” — Heloise