Dear Heloise: My mother-in-law is coming for a visit, so I thought I'd make one of her favorite dishes, a Waldorf salad, but I don't know what all goes into the salad. Do you have a recipe for it?

Millie S., Lima, Ohio

Millie S.: Yes, I do have a recipe for the Waldorf salad, and you’ll find it in my book “In the Kitchen With Heloise.” Here it is:

½ cup diced pineapple

2 cups diced apples

1 cup chopped celery

½ cup broken nut meats

½ cup diced oranges

½ cup diced bananas

½ cup diced marshmallows

5 cherries, diced

¼ cup whipped cream

Mix the ingredients together and chill until served. Enjoy!

Dear Heloise: What is MSG, and how is it used? My husband won't touch the stuff. Is it really dangerous to eat?

Rochelle R., Bedford, N.H.

Rochelle R.: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer found mainly in Chinese and Japanese cooking. Research has shown that some people suffer side effects from consuming this product. The side effects can range from headache and flushing to numbness and tingling, weakness and more. It’s always best to consume foods prepared with natural seasonings.

Dear Readers: Like all berries, blackberries have some wonderful benefits and a delicious taste. They grow on shrubs, known as brambles. Not only are they low in calories, with only 62 calories per cup of berries, they also are an excellent fruit for diabetics. They contain magnesium, potassium and vitamins C, E, K and A, and are a good source of fiber.

Dear Heloise: A child's birthday can be very messy, especially when it comes to the cake. I always seem to end up with cake all over the place. Got any hints to help me out?

Georgia K., New Castle, Pa.

Georgia K.: Use flat-bottom ice cream cones and fill half-full with the cake batter, then set them in a muffin tin to hold them upright. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done. When cooled, ice the tops and serve.

P.S. The following is another cake hint!

Dear Heloise: I've discovered that you can freeze a cake, but each layer must be frozen separately and without frosting, which only makes the cake soggy when it thaws out. Make sure each layer is wrapped well in plastic. Cakes do not freeze completely solid, so you have to be very careful and not stack things on top of the layers.

Joan M., Elkins, W.Va.

Dear Heloise: Can you freeze butter?

Cally W., Harwood, Md.

Cally W.: Yes, you can. Butter keeps up to nine months in the freezer.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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