Dear Heloise:

I have a question about sandwiches made with mayonnaise. I was always told not to make sandwiches with mayo that you have to transport unless you can keep them cold. My co-workers say that isn't true, and it got me to thinking. So, what's your take on this?

Annie J. in Del Rio, Tex.

Annie, after doing some checking, here's the scoop: It is suggested by manufacturers to keep sandwiches (or any dishes made with mayo) cool (in an ice cooler or using ice packs or an insulated cool pack) until they can be placed in a refrigerator. They shouldn't be left out of refrigeration for more than a couple of hours.

Opened jars of mayo and salad dressings should be kept in the refrigerator, while unopened jars are fine on the pantry shelf.

P.S. What is real mayo? The Food and Drug Administration says mayonnaise must contain at least 65 percent oil by weight, plus vinegar and egg or egg yolks. It may contain spices and natural seasonings except turmeric and saffron, as yellow color might suggest added egg yolk.

Dear Heloise:

I read one of your columns recently in which a reader suggested throwing a slice of bread into the container with cookies to keep them soft. While this is a great suggestion, here is some additional information:

The bread should be white, as the taste of the flavored bread can be absorbed by the cookies. Adding bread to the container with cookies that have frosting or already have a lot of moisture will make the frosting and cookies too moist, and the result will be soggy cookies with slimy frosting.

Michele Tungett, Springfield, Ill.

Dear Heloise:

A reader was questioning if it was safe to leave a slow cooker on for eight to 10 hours while she was not home. I had the same concern, so my husband replaced the outlet I use for the slow cooker on my countertop with a GFI (ground-fault interrupter) outlet. If the cooker should short out, it will trip and immediately turn off. You could add a timer to it if you wanted it to turn off before you got home. I do feel safer leaving it on now when I am away.

Sandy from Verona, Va.

Dear Heloise:

I use small beads and sequins for craft projects and found that plastic zip-top bags were not a good option for storing leftovers, as they seemed to tear easily. Now, I save empty prescription bottles (washed, dried and with labels removed). I store the tiny beads and sequins in these transparent containers. Using a funnel to fill the containers makes it easy, with few spills. Hope this helps someone else who's even once picked up a bag of beads and had them spill on the floor due to a small tear in the bag!

Robin Gladstein, via e-mail

Dear Heloise:

I used to have issues finding my sewing needles. Frustrated with all the needles I'd lost, I found that the little plastic containers in which mechanical pencil lead comes work fantastically. It's just the right height for standard needles, and I haven't lost one since.

D.N., Burnsville, Minn.

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