Dear Heloise: In several recipes, it says to let the MEAT SIT for 10 to 20 minutes before carving or serving. My question is: Before serving, are you supposed to once again put the meat back in the oven to warm up, or serve it at room temperature? -- Linda S., via e-mail
NO, you do not put the meat back in the oven or on the grill after it has rested, because it stays warm during this time as long as you don’t cut into it.
Cooking meat causes the juices to go toward the center. By resting the meat, you are letting the juices redistribute throughout the meat again. It’s the juices that make the meat more tender and juicy when you eat it. Cutting into meat right after cooking causes all the juices to run out onto the plate, resulting in the meat being tougher when eating. -- Heloise
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Dear Heloise: When I pack a lunch for my daughter to take to school each day, along with utensils, a napkin or paper towel, I include an individually wrapped, moist towelette. This way, I can be sure she has washed her hands before eating, because there is not always time for her to run to the bathroom. -- Lauren H., via e-mail
Dear Heloise: I have always been afraid to take home leftovers from a seafood restaurant. And I won’t save seafood dishes that I have cooked in my own home, either. Can you safely keep leftover fish and shellfish dishes, and if so, for how long? -- Linda W. in New York
You sure can, Linda, so start taking home those leftovers for the next day! The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that fish and shellfish leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days, or stored in the freezer for up to three months. As always, though, make sure the food smells good and not “fishy” before reheating and eating. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: When we buy a new carton of eggs, we usually have a few left from the old carton. We have tried to precariously balance them on top of the new carton, with predictable, messy results.
I finally had the idea of cutting an empty egg carton apart and saving a portion of the end that can securely hold our leftover eggs. There is no room in the space in the refrigerator door where the egg carton fits, but there is extra room in the butter drawer. We know to use any eggs stored here first, as they are older, and we haven’t had any breakage yet. -- Jason S. in Ohio
Dear Heloise: I often mail cookies to friends. To protect the cookies, which are placed in bags, I recycle the plastic sleeves in which my morning paper is delivered. I fill the newspaper bags with the appropriate amount of air to cushion the box and keep the contents from moving about. -- Ruth B. in Louisiana