Hints from Heloise: Prepping gas-powered tools

Dear Heloise >> I read and enjoy your column. It is about time, or maybe beyond time for some, to store gas-powered equipment. First, modern regular gasoline contains a bit of ethanol. This additive will gum up over time. I recommend that folks run all of their gas out of small engines before storage or, at least, run the machines every two weeks. This includes chainsaws, string trimmers and mowers all the way up to automobiles.

Also, if folks are storing gas in containers, use a decent fuel stabilizer. In addition, folks need to keep a spray can of carburetor cleaner handy. This not only will clean some gum out of the carburetor, but will also start the piece of equipment. This is done by removing the air filter and spraying it directly beyond the flapper valve. Takes the guesswork out of the “got spark, got gas” equation.

Also, if equipment is to be stored, it should not be in the elements. This invites rust to form on the fly wheels, which supplies the energy to the spark plug. Along with that, never buy cheap spark plugs. Most issues with them having “no spark” are caused by that rust mentioned earlier. Best regards.

— Robert A. Lip

Dear Heloise >> I have just finished reading your column today in the Maui News and was struck by the hint about picking good melons. I always sniff stone fruits and apples before I add them to my shopping cart. My nose never fails me. I have a 1-year-old granddaughter, who loves sucking on nectarine fruit, but not peaches. So, I bite through the skin, and when a good bit of the fleshy fruit appears, I offer it up, and she is in heaven.

I wrote to you previously regarding vegetarian soup recipes in reply to a writer who asked about them. You recommended chicken broth for a nice base. I recommend miso; I use a dark miso for mock French onion soup. I received many compliments for it when I was a restaurant cook. The most memorable was from a man from France.

I thinly slice several strong onions and sauté them until they are browned, then add dark miso, stirring well until heated through, adding soy sauce to taste and for color. Serve piping hot with herbed bread croutons and smooth white cheese on top. Cheese must melt easily and well. Delicious! Bon appetite from a Maui cook.

— Kathleen Platt

Dear Heloise >> I saw some great tips in the Dallas Morning News regarding how to dine out without derailing your diet. I have three more tips:

• Share a meal with someone.

• Ask for a to-go box, and when the food arrives, put half of your meal in the to-go box.

• If you are at a buffet or at a friend’s house, use a smaller plate if available.

— K. Bellessa, Plano, Texas

Write to Heloise

P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise@Heloise.com

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