Dear Heloise: I am writing to ask if you know the best way to make a “good” cup of INSTANT COFFEE. Many years ago, your mother printed some hints concerning instant coffee, and it did help! -- Joyce S., Findlay, Ohio

Joyce, you made me smile thinking of my mother, the original Heloise (1919-1977). Here are some hints for you to try: Always start with fresh, cold water. Boil the water. Add the correct coffee amount, according to the brand’s directions, to a cup, add water and stir. Try using a small whisk or even a fork to stir it, instead of a spoon, and add a pinch of salt. For more hints and recipes on coffee AND tea, send for my Heloise’s Flavored Coffee and Teas pamphlet. To order, send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Coffee, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. If lemons are too expensive, but you still want the flavor in your tea, just add half a teaspoon of powdered lemonade mix! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My hint has to do with the tall, plastic cake containers that you get when you buy a layer cake or angel-food cake at the supermarket. When the cake is gone, these containers can be washed, dried and kept for taking your own cakes to bake sales and church functions. The tall covers stack inside each other to make it easy to store until needed. The labels can be removed by soaking. The cake will stay fresh, as these containers lock together. -- Sandy in Lubbock, Tex.


Dear Heloise: Please help. I am looking for a way to clean my oven racks. -- Narvella in Cleveland

Yuck! They can be pretty dirty and a chore to clean. Put the dirty oven racks inside a large, sturdy, plastic garbage bag, and spray both sides with oven cleaner. Close up the bag and let it sit for several hours or overnight in a safe place so children and pets don’t get to it. Carefully discard the bag and rinse the racks clean with water. Rarely does it take any scrubbing (if you’ve covered the racks well with oven cleaner). Hope this helps. -- Heloise

P.S.: Work in a well-ventilated area, or even better, take them outside.


Dear Heloise: I read your column every day and love all the hints that are shared. I thought I’d share this one: I was opening a can of soup with the “easy-open lid,” but my problem was that it really wasn’t so easy! I used a handle on a wooden spoon to slip through the hole and put some leverage on it, and, with very little pressure, the lid started opening. -- Charlotte H., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: When cooking scrambled eggs, spray the spatula with oil before stirring the eggs in the pot. This will keep the eggs from sticking to the plastic, metal or wooden utensil. -- Molly, via e-mail

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