Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heloise, if you please.

I love reading the little helpful hint blurbs peppered throughout women's magazines. And, as a recovering magazine junkie, I have read many a hint in my day. I don't use the hints very often, though some are quite helpful, but I am always intrigued and/or amused by them. I like to wonder about the persons and lives behind such hints . . . The woman who dutifully saves all the crumbs from her chip and pretzel bags so she can sprinkle them atop a casserole. The home cook who figures out one more way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. The individual who saves all of her warranties/product instructions in a binder with dividers. The mom who creates a "to do" jar to combat her children's complaints of "I'm bored." The person who discovers a new/better/cheaper/more efficient way of doing anything and feels moved to write in to a magazine to share the good news.

A few months ago, I read a helpful hint that left me wanting more. A woman wrote in to say that when her husband leaves to go pick up their pizza, she goes and lights their grill. That way, when her husband arrives home, the grill will be ready for the pizza. I have heard of people cooking pizza on a grill, but the hint made it seem as if this couple would be grilling an already cooked pizza. I started wondering how far they lived from the pizza place. Did the pizza get so cold on the way home that it needed to be warmed again . . . on the grill? Or, do they simply enjoy the flavor of grilled pizza so much that they want to add that extra step? Or, is there guilt involved with ordering a pizza so that the extra step of grilling it is some kind of penance? Perhaps this couple does not see convenience and immediacy of intake as one of the key benefits of ordering pizza. I'd love to know more.

I've always sort of wondered what helpful hint I would send in to a magazine if, you know, there was some situation where I had to come up with something. I already bragged about my new cutlery sorting/loading system, but I don't think it's original enough (compared to grilling cooked pizza) to warrant two inches of type.

On Saturday evening, I had a helpful hint breakthrough. There I was in the kitchen, mixing up some rice krispie treats for Bub's playdate the next day. I can't manage to memorize the recipe (so many ingredients, you know) so I glanced on the marshmallow package for guidance. I noted the phrase, "Using buttered spatula or wax paper, press mixture evenly into buttered 9x13 inch pan." In the past, I sprayed a spatula (bonus hint: the same one I used for mixing the ingredients) with cooking spray before molding the treats into the pan. When I read the directions on the bag, I thought, "Oh, butter would be better than cooking spray on that spatula." Then, I thought, "Wax paper would be nice too, but who keeps that around?" Probably lots of people do, but I'm not one of them. Then, I noticed the perfect item for pressing the treats into the pan. Wait for it . . . the BUTTER WRAPPER!!! I can't tell you how pleased I was when I thought of it. Sure, I could butter a spatula or grab a piece of wax paper, but why bother when you have a piece of buttered wax paper right before you that you were just going to throw away.*

So, there you go. Butter Wrapper. NTB.

I promise this is the last household hint post for a while. What else have you got for me? Do you stock wax paper in your kitchen? Have you read a helpful hint that left you wanting more? Any insights into the grilled pizza hint? Do you prepare rice krispie treats even though you don't personally like them all that much and then eat them until you feel sick?

*unless you know some hint for re-using butter wrappers . . . if so, speak up


Actchy said...

Genius idea, the butter wrapper, MEP. Dare I say you are en fuego these days.

Regarding the grilled pizza. The husband and I do something similar. As we live in the pizza capital of the world, NTB, we are both big pizza-eaters. But we lament that delivered pizza never has the nice crisp crust you get when you order by the slice. Hence, when we order the pizza, we turn on the oven (350) and put pizza slices on the pizza stone for 5 minutes or so before we eat it. Works like a charm.

And, for what it's worth, we keep the pizza stone in the bottom of the oven at all times. It doesn't hurt it, and it helps regulate the oven temperature. Although there is a 95% chance we'll leave it here accidentally when we move.

CaraBee said...

I have never heard of reheating pizza on the grill, but I'm intrigued by the idea. I know there are some pizza places that sell their pizzas raw and then you cook it at home. I've never tried that, though.

I LOVE the butter wrapper idea! I haven't made rice crispy treats in forever, but they are one of my favorites. Hint, hint, in case you feel like making some, oh say, around July 22nd. :)

I actually do keep wax paper in the house, but it's not one of those things that I immediately put on the list when I run out. More of a "when I next need it, I'll get it" kind of thing. Wax paper is very handy for lots of things, though. If you put it in a pan before you pour the cake batter, it helps it come out nice and easy. That's my only tip, and I'm pretty sure I saw it on Rachel Ray or Martha.

kathy mick prough said...

HI mep!

love it. i have to admit, i DO HAVE WAX paper in my kitchen. i keep it in the drawer with the baggies, ziploc bags, foil, and clear wrap. BUT i will say, i usually only use it around cmas time, or the very odd things here and there during the rest of the year. however, it's there, it fits in the drawer, and it works! i use it when i bake a cake. put it on the bottom of our pretty glass cake holder, put the cake down, frost the cake, and then slide the wax paper out from under it. this leaves no marks around the edge of the cake holder, as i'm a messy "froster."


kathy mick prough

Sue and Randy said...

In the 4+ years I have received Parents/Parenting or some similarly titled magainze(s) [are there more than one, seems like it], I've only read one hint that I found good enough to rip out and actually use. The hint was to put a pool noodle under the fitted sheet in my child's bed in place of bed rails (those are so big and ugly, couldn't mess up her room with it!). The noodle worked well and I've passed on the tip to many. But is it worth the money of all those magazines.....

Anonymous said...

butter wrapper, pure genius! I used to have wax paper around for cut out cookies but have abandoned it for parchment paper which I don't use that often but simply love. I, too, read helpful hints but usually am saying to myself, are you kidding me, way too much work. Who actually saves soap flakes? m

cake said...

it truly is brilliant. i used to make rice crispy treats once a week. they have been a favorite since childhood. then i got sort of grossed out about marshmallows. however, reading this, i think cosmo's gonna get his first ever batch of that crispy gooey goodness this weekend. and i am going to forget all i know about gelatin long enough to enjoy them.

i am making a list of helpful hints to send to magazines. probably, i will never send them.

actchy, i know some folks who did leave their stone in the oven when they moved. i'll remind you to check.

LAP said...

Hey MEP. I purchased wax paper when I went through a phase of making choc chip ice cream cookies. I wrapped each finished product in wax paper to store in the freezer until ready to be eaten. Worked well. I also use wax paper to cool cookies on. At one point I required wax paper on the table as a placemat when the kiddies used play doh but I'm over trying to enforce that control tactic. Fancy has also taken to using wax paper in some of her crafts...I don't even ask.

I've never heard of grilling pizza. However, BB has made me a reheating pizza snob in that I refuse to reheat pizza in a microwave anymore. I put it in the toaster oven for a few minutes and it is delish.

Burgh Baby said...

If you were to try grilling Pizza Hut pizza, I'm pretty sure that all the grease would cause the grill to instantly explode. I'll stick to grilling homemade pizza, thankyouverymuch.

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

I've always wanted to be clever enough to come up with my very own helpful hint, too!

And YAY for you on the butter wrapper idea, it's actually quite genuius.

Also, what the heck did she light the grill for on the pizza??? That is weird.

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