Really? I did not know that! Brilliant. And it worked.
And yesterday, no sooner had our tulips budded than I spotted a hungry squirrel sniffing around them as if they were...dessert. I called a pal, and said "I will be so unhappy if those %&($#@ squirrels bite the heads off my tulips again. But I don't want to red pepper them, because they ducks might get the hot stuff on their feet. What do I do?" He said: "Sprinkle garlic on the tulips. Squirrels hate that." Really?
And my mother always told me: to get onion smell off your hands, just rub them on chrome.
So much valuable stuff to know!
Reds and Readers--tell us something we need to know! Maybe channel the spirit of Heloise (remember?) and give us a hint!
HALLIE EPHRON: Ah, Heloise. She taught me how to polish silver by dropping the pieces into boiling water laced with baking soda. Or that club soda takes out red wine stains. Does anyone remember Peg Bracken's "I Hate to Housekeep"? It had tons of shortcuts and tips and it was funny.
Something I learned just a few days ago... I love pan-crusted scallops but when I try to make them, they don’t develop a nice brown crunchy crust. So off to the Internet to discover why.
Turns out most of the scallops we get (and those on sale at my supermarket) are “wet scallops” – treated by retain water. And that’s why they won’t crust. But trust America’s Test Kitchen to come up with a fix:
Soak them for 30 minutes in (for my 3/4 lb scallops) 1 cup water, 2 T lime or lemon juice, 2 tsp salt. Pat dry… thoroughly. Get the oil in a heavy (cast iron) skillet smokin’ hot. Add the scallops not touching each other. Cook 1 1/2 minutes on a side (during which time you do not try to move them around in the pan). PERFECTLY browned crusty scallops just cooked through.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Nice! I'm trying to think of my tricks and shortcuts. Honestly, I'm grateful I can still call up my mother when I want to find out, "How do I do..." and she can give me the answer. Let's see...
If you have a half bottle of wine left over after dinner, cover the top tightly with Saran wrap and it'll stay good for another day.
JULIA: If you travel a lot, always have a prepacked vanity bag, with all your essentials and your makeup basics (separate from what you usually use at home.) Toss in your Rxs and you're good to go.
If you're having a firewood emergency (I do realize this is probably not a lot of people!) you can make "Yankee Firewood" by tightly rolling newspaper sheets into a column and tying them with string. The "log" will burn a surprisingly long time.
If you drink a glass of water after each glass of wine/beer/liquor, you won't feel hungover when you wake up.
...yeah, I got nuthin'. Boy, you can tell housekeeping is not my thing, can't you?
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: My best is that in a pinch you can use toothpaste as silver polish. I got that from the TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Remember them?
RHYS BOWEN: Eek! I don't think I have any handy hints. I suppose I must have done when my kids wrote on walls with crayons or trod bubble gum into carpets. Wait. I remember that one. Freeze the gum. Rub ice cubes on it. Works well for gum in hair too.
And another. I'm on a roll now. Iron out wax dropped on tablecloth by placing paper towel and then using cool iron. And salmon poached in red wine is delicious. And Hallie, I'm grateful for the scallop hint because I adore them and have been frustrated.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: LOVE the scallops hint, Hallie! I've almost given up on them because they always go watery and soggy, no matter how hot I have my pan. And they're too expensive to ruin.
I know quite a few of these things, but not polishing the silver with baking soda. Going to try that. And I've never poached salmon in red wine, Rhys, so am going to try that, too. Julia, you assume we have leftover bottles of wine???
Hank, we have a dreadful problem with squirrels digging up everything, especially the pots on my deck. (Gave up on tulips years ago--very expensive squirrel food.) Last year I tried garlic powder and they seemed just to think it made nice seasoning... Boo.
LUCY BURDETTE: How to roast a chicken when you can no longer afford a delicious salty crust on the skin? Mash together a couple of tablespoons of butter, some lemon zest, and two crushed cloves of garlic. Loosen the skin on the chicken and spread the mixture between skin and flesh. Stuff the cavity with more lemon or half an onion.
John's tips on how to keep a rotten woodchuck out of the garden: Spread animal fur and coyote urine around the perimeter. Sprinkle plants with cayenne pepper. Extend the top of the fence inward with bird netting. When all else fails, station your wife outside with a pellet gun
HANK: First, get some coyote urine. :-) Argh. I'm telling you, if the squirrels hit our tulips, there's gonna be trouble..
DEBS: Okay, here's a hint I learned from my daughter. Hate cooking bacon because even when you use a splatter shield, everything on your cook top ends up covered in bacon grease? Instead, line a cookie sheet well with foil, then place wire racks on top of the foil. Arrange your bacon on the racks and pop in a 425 oven for as long as it takes to get the bacon crispy (15 or 20 minutes should do it.) Drain the bacon on paper towels, then, when the grease on the foil has solidified, you just fold up the foil and throw it away.
No more greasy stove, no more trying to figure out how throw away the bacon grease! Unless, like many of our grandmothers, you still keep an old coffee can filled with used (and reused) grease by your cooker…
HANK: A …coffee can?
(And Susan, I loved Queer Eye. Also Stacey and Clinton.) And this just in: our intrepid Hallie found TIP HERO on Facebook. Hilarious tips! https://www.facebook.com/tiphero/
How about you, savvy Reds and readers? Got a hint, household or otherwise, that might change our lives? Like: hit "command Z" if you accidentally erase everything?
I guess no one needs "put clear nail polish on your stocking to stop the run" anymore.
SO funny, huh?
(I'm still thinking about where to get coyote urine. First, get a coyote.)
A copy of PRIME TIME to one lucky commenter as a reward!