… from turning brown, but nothing worked until I tried this: Put the guac into a container, leaving space on top and at one side. Place some chopped onion pieces into the side area only, and put the airtight lid on it. After 4½ days, it was perfect and delicious! Not brown-colored at all.

– Charlotte

in Ventura, Calif.

DEAR HELOISE:

Romaine lettuce will stay fresh and crisp for weeks if you cut off the bottom and place the leaves in a tall glass filled with fresh water. I change the water every day or two. Refrigerate, of course.

– Shirley, via email

DEAR HELOISE:

For gas-free beans, soak 1 pound of beans overnight with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of castor oil. The next day, drain well, rinse two or three times and cook like you usually do. No gas at all, and no change in taste.

– Johnny in Texas

DEAR READERS:

Here are some substitutes that will come in handy when you’re out of the ingredients you usually use:

• No celery for tuna or chicken salad? Use chopped coleslaw or minced water chestnuts. Fresh, crunchy and delicious.

• Need an unsweetened square of chocolate but don’t have one? Mix together 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening.

• No buttermilk? You can use yogurt in some baked goods.

– Heloise

DEAR HELOISE:

I have read your column for years — literally, as I am over 90 years old. For over 70 years, I was a cook and baker, and I made hundreds of cakes for birthdays with candles on top. Times change, and candles should not be on the top of the cake. On a cupcake or a cookie, but not a cake. One blow and others are sick. I made the change years ago.

– Harriet P.,

North Bethesda, Md.

DEAR HELOISE:

Microwave ovens do not heat food evenly. Letting the food stay in the microwave after cooking allows the heat to spread more evenly.

– Earl B., Medway, Ohio

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