Dear Readers: Back to school means back to the mall, big-box retailer or online site for kids clothes. What should you look for? Here are some hints:

Seams should be stitched tight.

Hints from Heloise sig

Fabric should be of good quality and durable.

Clothes should be soft and comfortable, not itchy.

No fringe and drawstrings. They could be strangulation hazards.

Make sure you follow the school dress code; basics are always a good bet: plain sweaters, shorts and T-shirts.

Colors that hide stains are a good idea, too.

Check out the clearance sections, and here’s a final hint: Buy some pieces that are a bit too big. These pieces won’t be too big for too long. A child who is looking good and comfortable is someone who is ready to learn.

— Heloise

Savory flavor

Dear Readers: You know the simple tastes of sweet, sour, salty and bitter, but do you know the name of the fifth simple taste, that of broth and meatiness?

It’s called “umami,” which is Japanese for “pleasant and savory.” Surprisingly, the category of umami has only been officially recognized since 1985.

Foods that contain a lot of glutamate can be called umami: Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, chicken, beef and pork all can take on the rich flavor of umami. Check it out!

— Heloise

Public restrooms

DEAR HELOISE: Not all public restrooms provide paper seat covers. I carry several individually wrapped antibacterial hand wipes in my purse. These take up very little room.

I wipe down the toilet seat with one or more of these wipes. Then I use toilet paper to dry the seat. I don’t flush the wipes.

— Lois U., Colby, Kan.

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

©2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

Sent hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email