Dear Heloise: What are charnushka, cardamom and chervil? Are they different or the same thing? I just started cooking for myself, as a single guy, and these spices are new to me. — Jason D., Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Jason, charnushka generally is used in Armenian, Lebanese and Indian cooking. New York bakeries often put charnushka seeds on Jewish rye because of their smoky-flavored taste. Cardamom are tiny seeds with a lemon-ginger taste, often used in bakeries, and are popular in Scandinavia. Chervil has a slightly sweet flavor, and is used on fish, potato and egg salads, and vegetables. It closely resembles parsley.

Seasonings play an important role in making your meals exotic and tasty. FYI: Ground spices will last one to two years if stored in airtight containers away from heat, moisture and light. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Now that summer is here and a lot of folks are grilling outside, maybe it's time to remind them of some basic "never" rules:

* Never use a charcoal grill indoors.

* Never add starter fluid to hot or warm coals.

* Never wear loose-fitting clothing (especially sleeves) around a grill.

* Never grill near dry grass, brush or other flammable items.

— Thomas H., Royal Oak, Mich.

Dear Readers: Pears are one of my favorite fruits. Did you know that there are several types of pears: Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle and Seckel? The most popular pears in America seem to be Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc and Comice. The Bartlett pear turns a buttery yellow when ripe, but Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle and Seckel do not change color. Once a pear is ripe, it usually will stay fresh in the refrigerator about three to five days. Pears contain about 100 calories and are nutrient-dense, with nearly 25 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, 6 grams of fiber, 190 mg of potassium, but no sodium or cholesterol. While pears do not freeze well, the firmer kinds, such as Anjou, Bosc and Concorde, can be used in cooking. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Some of the best beauty products are right in your kitchen. I take the white of one egg and an artist's paintbrush and apply it to my face while I lie down and rest. When it dries, I take the yolk from that egg and use it with my shampoo to wash my hair, then do a final rinse with vinegar and water. — Nancy H., Harvey, Ill.

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