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Tips & Techniques in the kitchen for food . . . and other useful tricks -part 2

Baking Soda
Test baking soda for freshness by pouring 1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice over the baking soda. If doesn't actively bubble, it's too old to be effective. Pour it down the drain and buy a new box!

Fresh celery!
A better way to keep celery fresh (and it works for Romaine lettuce as well) is to wrap it with a damp paper towel and then put it in a plastic bag with as little air as possible and refrigerate.

Popcorn will keep longer if stored in the freezer.

Brown Sugar
Keep brown sugar wrapped in another plastic bag in the freezer to make it
last longer without hardening. Take it out to thaw about 15 minutes before
you need to use it, then return the remaining portion to the freezer.

Drop cookies
When making drop cookies, make a large batch, form into balls and freeze on cookie sheet. When frozen put into zip lock bags and store in freezer. Later, just remove amount needed from freezer, place on cookie sheets and bake while still frozen. This way you will always have a variety of cookies on hand.

Seen on an episode of Oprah
If you spill red wine on a carpet, pour white wine right over it. The white will neutralize the red wine. Follow with light soap and water and blot with a thick towel.

This section was the idea of Shirley Cline from San Fransisco. We all have useful little ideas or techniques we use which are always worth passing on but we don't because we assume everyone knows them already. The fact is we don't.

Shirley was a great inspiration when I first started working on the idea of creating a recipe and cooking web site. Not only did she encourage me but she also supplied a great many recipes and other pieces which are featured throughout the site. Her great achievement was to teach me to cook risotto over the internet!

Although I never had the chance to meet Shirley, or even talk to her, I regarded her as a good friend. It was with great sadness that I learnt that she passed away in Autumn 2004 and that there would be no more emails. I think she will be sadly missed by a lot of people like me to whom she gave such pleasure with the sharing or her recipes. The pleasure my children have had from her recipe for Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Mint - not to mention the fights for seconds - has been a joy to behold.