Thread: Dear Reena

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    Mar 2002
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.

    Default Dear Reena

    From the Victoria Times Colonist Life Section:

    Carbon monoxide detectors save lives

    By Reena Nerbas, Special to Times Colonist January 16, 2010

    Dear Reena: My mother-in law gave me a carbon-monoxide detector for Christmas. While I appreciate the thought, are they really necessary, or should I trade it in for another smoke detector? She seems a little paranoid to me. Thanks, Otto

    Dear Otto: Great question! Recent statistics report 113,333 carbon-monoxide poisonings each year in the U.S. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent and dangerous killer, and if you do your research, you will find that purchasing one or, better yet, more than one, is a very smart choice.

    Since CO is colourless, tasteless and odourless (unlike smoke from a fire), detection and prevention of CO poisoning in a home environment is impossible without such a warning device. Proper placement of a CO detector is important. If you are installing only one CO detector, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends it be located near the sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep. Additional detectors on every level and in every bedroom of a home provide extra protection against CO poisoning.

    Do not to install CO detectors directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of CO upon startup. A detector should not be placed within 15 feet (4.5 metres) of heating or cooking appliances, or in or near very humid areas such as bathrooms.

    Also available on the market are smoke and CO combination detectors. In other words, the choice to install CO detectors in your home can save your life; your mother-in law deserves a pat on the back (and perhaps a box of chocolates).

    Dear Reena: What is the best way to transport food for potluck dinners?

    I made a casserole for my friend and by the time I arrived at her home, half of it had spilled onto my car mats. Also, do you have any suggestions about how to decide on a good potluck dish? Thank you,


    Dear Betty: When choosing a potluck dish, pick something that won't deteriorate -- or pose a threat of food poisoning -- if it has to sit for a while at room temperature.

    In other words, keep cold foods cold (40 F / 4 C or colder) and keep hot foods hot.

    If the dish needs to eaten warm, consider transporting it in a slow cooker or choose something that can be reheated in the microwave.

    If you've made something in a casserole dish with a lid, remove it from the oven in which you cooked it, secure the lid and wrap the covered dish in several thicknesses of newspaper and put it in a snug-fitting box, covering the box with a heavy towel.

    You could also use a cooler. They are insulated and, while most commonly used to keep things cold, can also be used to keep things hot. Pack the food into the cooler immediately before you leave and don't open until serving time.

    If you're dealing with a crumb crust, place an inverted empty pie plate on top of your pie, then wrap a large sheet of foil around the two plates to hold them together.

    If you're dealing with a fluted crust, place a piece of double-stick foam tape on a baking sheet, place the pie on top, invert a large bowl over it, then tape the bowl in place.

    Note: If you won't be able keep food adequately hot or cold, serve items such as dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter sandwiches, apples and bananas.

    Extra tip: If you have extra address labels kicking around the house, apply them to the bottom of dishes before taking them to potluck gatherings. After the empty dishes are returned, soak the label with a small amount of cooking oil, then wash off with dish soap and water.

    Dear Reena: This is a question that I am too embarrassed to ask any of my family members. When eating a mango, do you eat the peel? Also, what is the easiest way to peel a pomegranate? Lastly, what is dragon fruit? Happy New Year,


    Dear Melanie: No problem. Mango peels are chewy and tough, therefore most people (not all) discard the peel and dive into the juicy inside of the mango.

    Purchase pomegranates while you can -- the season will soon be over. The fastest way to seed a pomegranate is to cut the fruit in half. Fill a bowl with cold water and break the pomegranate apart underwater. Rub seeds out with your thumb. The papery membrane will float to the top and the seeds sink to the bottom. Scoop out the seeds and eat them -- they offer a lot of health benefits.

    The pitaya is more commonly referred to as the dragon fruit, and is usually a dark red colour, although some types of this fruit are pink or yellow. The skin is usually covered in scales, and the centre of the fruit is made up of a red or white, sweet-tasting pulp -- it looks a bit like white kiwi flesh.

    The dragon fruit is best eaten by cutting the fruit in half and scooping the flesh out.

    Why not make a New Year's resolution to try a new fruit once a month? Remember, it takes at least 20 trials to acquire a taste for something unfamiliar.

    Fabulous tip from reader

    Never fail pastry recipe: Blend together (into pea size crumbs) one pound of lard, five cups of flour and one teaspoon of salt.

    In a one cup measure combine one beaten egg, one tablespoon of white vinegar and enough water to make three-quarters of a cup. Add to flour mixture. Do not be afraid to handle this dough.

    I have been using this recipe for 50 years -- I am now over 90 years old. My family gave this recipe the name, Football Pastry because they would pass it back and forth. Never hard, always flaky.

    O. Glen

    Reena Nerbas is a professional speaker and the author of three national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives. Books and Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3 Cooking/Cleaning Gift Packs are available online or by calling: 204-320-2757.

    Check out Reena's website:

    Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

  2. #2
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    PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    Aug 2006


    Very enlightening.

    Now I know how to eat a mango.

    No seriously...

    MalahatTwo7: I appreciate your informative contributions.

    Well done sir.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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