Dear Readers: Your spring adventures may take you to a pond, where, lo and behold, there will probably be DUCKS! Watching the ducks splashing and paddling around is a beautiful and relaxing experience. But here’s a caveat: Leave the bread at home.
Ducks like the taste of bread, but it is bad for them. It has zero nutritional value, and if they fill up on bread, they won’t be hungry for good, nutritional foods. Also, bread debris in the water can lead to algae buildup.
What are good choices to feed ducks? Lettuce, thawed raw peas, oats, birdseed, cooked rice, seedless grapes and sweet corn — cooked or raw!
Ducks in the wild eat grasses, water plants and insects.
P.S. Making the ducks dependent on people feeding them is not ideal, but feeding them occasionally is OK.
Dear Readers: Marilyn M. in Manchester, N.H., sent a picture of her Chloe relaxing on the couch. To see Chloe and her Pet Pal friends, visit my newly updated website, www.Heloise.com, and click on “Pet of the Week.”
Do you have a furry and funny friend to share? Email a picture and description to Heloise@Heloise.com.
DEAR HELOISE: I have read your wonderful column for years; thank you for all your great hints! Here are three of my own:
1. Sometimes cookies, pastries, bread, etc., come out of the oven looking beautifully golden-brown on the top, but the bottoms are burnt. I run the burnt bottoms along my cheese grater, and they look and taste perfect! (I usually “sand them down” over the sink so I can easily rinse away the evidence!)
2. To clean the coffee or tea stains from a cup, I spray the inside of the cup with a bleach-based kitchen cleaner, rinse it and stick it in the dishwasher. It works great!
3. My very favorite way to make grilled cheese, especially when I am making multiple sandwiches, is in the oven! I butter one side of several even-numbered pieces of bread while my oven is warming to 375 degrees. Then I lay all the bread on a baking sheet, buttered side down, and put one piece of cheese on top of each piece of bread. I then can add items such as bacon, ham, onions and tomatoes on top of the cheese.
I pop the tray into the oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Then I take the tray out and flip one side of each sandwich on top of its partner with a spatula. Each sandwich turns out perfectly, lightly brown on the outside and melted on the inside. Also, the “add-ins” are slightly cooked and don’t fall out of the sandwich because they are already stuck in the melted cheese.
People can ask for the type of bread, cheese and “add-ins” they want, and all the sandwiches are made at one time!
— Ann R., Reading, Pa.