Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about restaurants and dining utensils:

“Is it rude to eat dinner with a spoon? Restaurants have special salad forks, fish forks, etc. But some don’t even provide spoons unless you request them. In the meantime, my wife is struggling to eat her salad, while I try to get peas to stay on my fork. (My diet doesn’t permit mashed potatoes, so I can’t use them to hold the peas.) -- Pete in Livingston, N.J.”

Pete, I don’t think it’s “rude” at all. You’re the paying customer, so why worry? Eating peas and some other foods with a spoon makes sense if it works for you. Just ask for a spoon, smile and enjoy your meal. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Other uses for cellphones:

* Use as a flashlight when the power goes out.

* Take a photo of your parking space to remember where you parked.

* Put a shopping list on it.

* Take a photo of a recipe in a magazine.

* Program your hotel phone number when traveling.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a problem with stinky feet during the summer. Do you have any hints on how to keep my feet and shoes smell-free? -- Kevin in Delaware

Yes, I do! Feet have a lot of tiny sweat glands, and when they are shoved inside shoes all day, it is no wonder that they start to smell. To reduce the smell, wash and dry (very important!) your feet daily. Let your shoes “air out” at least a day or two in between wearings. When purchasing shoes, look for ones that breathe, meaning they have mesh areas that allow air in.

Otherwise, spray your feet with an antiperspirant/deodorant, or sprinkle with one of my favorites — baking soda. You also can sprinkle a little baking soda in your shoes to keep them fresh. Do not do this on shoes made of real leather. Baking soda is helpful is so many ways. I have compiled a pamphlet filled with all of my favorite baking-soda hints. To order, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Does your laundry have an odor? Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle to remove. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: One of my favorite teapots got a big chip in it. I didn’t want to throw it away because it had a special meaning. I placed a small plant in it and put it on my desk. This could work with a teapot, a coffeepot, a favorite cup or any nice piece that gets a chip or crack. -- Olive in San Francisco


Dear Heloise: I have finally found the best way to cut, slice or dice raw onions without tears. Place the cutting board on your range top, turn on your exhaust fan to high and leave it on until you’ve finished. -- Linda L. in West Virginia

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

, King Features Syndicate