From perfectly-sized pies to creamy tomato soup

Dear Heloise: Could you explain how PIE PLATES ARE MEASURED? I have some 9-inch pie plates, but they are definitely different sizes. Some have deeply angled sides, and some are not so steep. There’s a difference in depth, too. — Mary Ann A., Omaha, Neb.

Mary Ann, a pie plate should be measured from the top of the inside edge of one side, across the middle, to the edge of the other side. Pie plates with sloped sides will be wider in width at the top than the width of the bottom. Typically, a 9-inch pie plate will make an evenly baked crust with a fully cooked pie filling. Be sure to read your recipe for the required size. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Washing your rolling pin in hot, soapy water is great if it’s a marble, plastic or wooden pin, but NOT if it’s an aluminum rolling pin. I wasn’t aware of the makeup of the interior of my aluminum rolling pin. Putting it in a dishpan of water after you’ve used it will surprise you. The interior of my pin ended up rusting where the rollers are. Thankfully, my mom replaced that pin, which she had given me when we were married, with a new aluminum rolling pin. Now I just use it, rinse it and wipe it off before putting it back in the drawer. — Cyndy, via email

Cyndy, thank you for this helpful information. Kitchen tools are expensive enough, and it’s always better to take care of these items rather than having to replace them. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I just read in your column about not washing your chicken and spreading the bacteria, which I wholeheartedly agree with. I thought I’d add a tip that my chef boyfriend always practices when working with raw chicken (or any meat, for that matter). He always lines the countertop, backsplash and surrounding areas with plastic food wrap. So easy to just roll it up and toss. — Nancy in The Villages, Fla.


Dear Heloise: What makes milk curdle in cream of tomato soup? — Neill, via email

Neill, tomatoes are acidic, and when you add milk or cream to your tomato soup, curdling can happen. You can try adding the milk slowly, in small amounts, when heating your tomato soup. — Heloise


Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.


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