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DEAR HELOISE: I love fresh spinach, but we like to add a few drops of vinegar to it. I serve it individually in some cute bowls I bought in Austria. This way, each of us in the family can put as much or as little vinegar as we want on the cooked spinach. It adds a little "zing" to an otherwise bland vegetable.

-- Libby H.,

Troutdale, Ore.

DEAR HELOISE: Some time ago, you printed a recipe for War Cake. I made it, and my husband loved it. He asked me to make one for his birthday, so would you please reprint that recipe, since I can't find the one I had?

-- Courtney N. in Indiana

DEAR READER: Here it is:

Use a medium- to large-size cooking pot/pan. Mix together 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups hot water and 2 teaspoons shortening (or butter). Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins and 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and cloves. Boil for 5 minutes after the mixture begins to bubble.

When the mixture is cold (and it must be cold), add 3 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking soda that has been dissolved in a couple of teaspoons of hot water. Mix well. Pour into a greased tube pan and bake for about 1 hour at 350 to 375 F.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a recipe that calls for "creme fraiche." I have looked for it in our local stores and cannot locate it. Is it something I can mix up myself,?

-- Pat B., Ada, Mich.

DEAR READER: Creme fraiche is similar to sour cream and can be used the same way. It's something you can make at home, and it's so simple. Just follow these instructions:

Creme Fraiche

3 tablespoons buttermilk

2 cups heavy whipping cream

First, mix both ingredients together and let stand, covered, at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 24 hours before serving.

DEAR HELOISE: What is meant by "purified water"? Is it the same as "distilled water"?

-- Deanna H., Grafton, N.D.

DEAR READER: "Purified water" is devoid of all minerals and chemicals. Usually this isn't consumed unless your doctor recommends it. "Distilled water" is best used in things such as irons or steam cleaners to prevent any mineral buildup. It contains a tiny amount of minerals.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Food on 09/26/2018

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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