Dear Heloise:

I like poached eggs and read that if you add vinegar to the water when poaching, the egg will keep its shape better. Is this true, and how much vinegar should you add?

Dolores in Oregon

Well, another old hint busted! Here's the Heloise update. The experts at the American Egg Board had this to say: "Vinegar DOES NOT help a poached egg keep its shape. While it is true that acid will react with the protein and cause it to coagulate, a large amount of vinegar would be needed, and this may alter the flavor of the egg. The egg white will coagulate by the heat of the water."

The AEB experts suggest that you use gently simmering water, but not a rolling boil. The egg will be tough and rubbery if poached in the hot water too long. They also recommend breaking the egg into a cup and lowering the egg into the pan of water. This way, it will keep its shape.

As always, we want to thank our friends at the AEB for all their generous help with our egg inquiries.

Dear Heloise:

Yesterday, I discovered an easy way to store glass jars in the bottom cabinet by using cardboard boxes cut to 2 or 3 inches high. Fill the box with jars of like sizes so you can stack them. Then shove them all the way into the corner where it is out of the way. By storing like sizes in one box, you can put another box on top and have even more room.

Joan Manning, Paris, Tex.

Dear Heloise:

You printed a taco-seasoning recipe recently, and I have lost it. Can you please repeat it?

Mrs. W., via e-mail

TACO SEASONING

2 teaspoons of chili powder

Small amount of salt and pepper

Dash of oregano

Dash of onion salt

Mix ingredients together, and it will be equivalent to one of those taco-seasoning packets. You can make more as needed. Be sure to keep any extra in a jar with a tightfitting lid.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

(c)2004, King Features Syndicate