Dear Heloise:

While riding our subway system here in the D.C. area, I realized that my dripping umbrella made the station floor hazardous, not to mention getting me or my bag wet. One day, as I unsheathed my local paper, I had a "eureka" moment, realizing what a perfect size the plastic bag was for the size of umbrella I was using. I've carried a newspaper bag ever since, even offering one to friends in need, much to their amusement and gratitude.

Patricia Bowden, via e-mail

Dear Readers:

Thelma Goodnight of Silver Lake, Ind., sent in a clipping of my mother's column from 1975. It was a recipe for Tuna Tidbits. We decided it sounded delicious and that we would reprint it here:

I just had a brainstorm, and I want to let you in on it. I call it "Tuna a la Heloise." I love to make Salmonettes Heloise, but with the price of salmon these days, they aren't as economical as they used to be. But since they are so good to eat, I decided to try making them with tuna fish. Fantastic, wonderful, delightful and delicious!


Approximately 14 ounces of tuna fish (two 6- to 7-ounce cans)

1 whole egg

1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup sifted flour

This entire process takes only about five minutes of your time, and you have a scrumptious dinner.

Open the tuna and drain the oil or water into a measuring cup. Now dump the tuna into a mixing bowl and add one whole egg. Use a fork to mix the tuna and egg and, when it has been mixed up good, add 1/2 cup flour and mix this thoroughly with the fork again. This mixture will be real thick. It is supposed to be like this. You may add some pepper, but I found it didn't need more salt. Now, take your measuring cup and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the liquid and add 1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder. Beat this with a fork. It is going to foam, and that is what we want. Your measuring cup should be 3/4 full with foam. This is what makes the difference in the end result. (If it doesn't foam, your baking powder may be old.) After the liquid has foamed, pour this into the tuna mixture. Mix again with your fork. It is going to be thin, but that is the secret . . . don't worry. Use two iced-tea spoons or spoons that are small. Now, dip up about a half-spoonful of the batter and scoop it off with the other spoon into a deep fryer half-full with hot oil. Don't worry about the scoops being perfectly shaped, they are better when they are all squiggly.

These tasty little tidbits don't even have to be turned. They will float on top of the hot oil and turn themselves over as they cook. And they'll be done in a few seconds. Your beautiful gourmet delights will looks as if you have spent hours with some secret recipe for lacy batter.

The batter cannot be made ahead of time and used later. You must use this within about 15 minutes.

Dear Heloise:

I was getting ready to make a pie and needed some shortening for the crust. So, I sprayed my measuring cup with cooking spray and then added the shortening to the cup. The shortening slid right out.

Kaye Walker

North Little Rock, Ark.

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 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)2005, King Features Syndicate