Dear Heloise: I always wet a PAPER COFFEE FILTER before inserting it in the coffeemaker. This way, it adheres to the sides of the filter chamber and does not fold over once the coffee has started percolating or dripping. It prevents the coffee grinds from floating down into the coffeepot. -- Susan B., Edison, N.J.

A very good hint that prevents one of those little annoying “things” and can start the day off right. This is a good hint for all coffee drinkers. I start my day with coffee and have many coffee-blend recipes that you can make yourself, such as Mocha, Vienna and Orange, available in my Heloise’s Flavored Coffees and Teas pamphlet. To order one, just send $3 with a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Coffee & Tea, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. After dumping the used filter and grounds, put a new filter in the coffeemaker so it’s ready for the next time. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Many of us have a hodgepodge of fast-food and takeout condiment packets. In a college dorm or traveling on the road, these packets can be essential in making a few extra staples:

* Ketchup + soy sauce barbecue sauce

* Soy sauce + sugar packets teriyaki sauce

* Crushed red pepper + soy sauce hoisin sauce

* Ketchup + crushed red pepper cocktail sauce

* Mayonnaise + relish tartar sauce

Enjoy the taste of convenience turned home-style! If you have a wacky combination, write to let me know at: Heloise/Condiments, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or e-mail me at -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Why not encourage the next generation of cooks by stating in recipes the kind of onion and measurable quantity? There are so many sizes and varieties of onions: green, white, yellow, etc., and the right amount and taste can make or break a recipe. “Chop one onion” doesn’t cut it. If ingredients are too vague on a new recipe, only experienced cooks can figure it out. -- Joan P., via e-mail

You do have a valid point. Many times, the size or kind of onion may not make a difference (if it’s a pot of chili or soup, for example), but with some recipes, it might. Thanks for the input. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: To keep brown sugar soft, I use two large marshmallows in a small bowl of about 3 cups of brown sugar that I keep handy on my kitchen counter. Just drop the marshmallows in and keep the bowl covered tightly. No need to stir the sugar. -- Lana D. in North Carolina


Dear Heloise: A hint from long ago that I use with every new loaf of bread: After removing a slice or two, twist the end of the bag and fold down the plastic wrapper back over the loaf. -- Jean N., Williamsport, Md.

Send a 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.

2012, King Features Syndicate