August 11, 2022


Delighting home maniacs

The versatile kitchen tool | Valley Life

The versatile kitchen tool | Valley Life

Dear Heloise: I read your column daily in the Houston Chronicle. A woman wrote of all the uses for a potato masher. I do similar things with my U-shaped wire pastry blender, which I inherited from my parents. It is a wall hanging decoration in my kitchen, with its Bakelite handle. But I take it down and use it to mash guacamole, stir ingredients into meatloaf, etc. It is a vintage treasure that is also a useful kitchen tool. I don’t often make pastry or pie crust, but it sometimes is used for its intended purpose. It brings back great family memories.

 — Rusti Stover, Houston

Taking care of plants while away

Dear Heloise: Get a child’s wading pool, fill it halfway with water and place it under a tree. Set your potted plants in the water, and the plants will be in good shape when you return.

 — Patricia Roberts, Bellaire, Texas

After mopping a no-wax floor, add several capfuls of vinegar to the water to help remove any remaining soap film and to leave the floor clean and shiny.

Vinegar is such an indispensable and safe household product that can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and cooking. You can learn more uses for vinegar in my vinegar pamphlet “Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More.” Get a copy by visiting, or by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (78 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.

Dear Heloise: Regarding the writer receiving calls from staff from their private phones about her mother in care: When she receives a call from one of them, she can save it in her phone as “Care Home.” Then, when she receives a call from any of the saved numbers, it will show up on caller ID as “Care Home.” She can save any number of calls under “Care Home,” or whatever she chooses to name it. Maybe “News about Mom”?

Dear Heloise: A reader from Omaha was having trouble with her gravy and wanted to know what she was doing wrong. It was lumpy and was the worst gravy her husband had ever tried. My suggestion is to tell her husband to get in the kitchen and make his own dang gravy.

 — Don Atkinson, Saratoga Springs, NY

Dear Heloise: This is Sasha, my five-year-old kitty, taking a ride on his catnip sleigh. I adopted him when he was six weeks old, along with his mom, Sofya, a stray who had six kittens only days after being rescued off the street. Sasha and Sofya look exactly alike. Love your column.

 — Karen McCarthy, Longmeadow, Mass.

Readers, to see Sasha and our other Pet Pals, go to and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to [email protected] I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.