Question of the Day

Any clue as to how to make pecan pralines?

Here's a simple recipe. You need 1/2 pound freshly shelled pecans (1 pound unshelled), 1 pound brown sugar, 4 tablespoons water (approximately), and 1 tablespoon butter. Chop the pecans, leaving some pieces larger and chopping others very fine. Put the brown sugar and just enough water to melt it in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the pecans and butter as it begins to boil. Stir constantly until it thickens and turns to sugar. Pour out onto a marble slab to dry, then chop or break up as desired.

Last 7 Days

    How do you select a ripe watermelon in the supermarket?

    Try piercing the skin of the melon with your fingernail. If it is easy to do, the melon is most likely ripe. Old-timers swear they can tell if a melon is ripe simply by giving it a sharp rap. If thumping produces a dull, hollow thud, the melon is ripe. A higher, ringing sound means the fruit is still green.

    Is walnut tree sap usable? Can you drink it, for instance?

    We have not heard of drinking the sap of the black walnut tree, nor has the staff at the University of Vermont's Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill Center. There are, of course, many uses for other parts of the walnut tree: food from the nuts; wood for furniture and gun stocks; oil from the seeds, used to make solutions for cleaning and polishing metal surfaces; and a dye for wool and artists' colors from the shells. We caution you not to grow other plants near a walnut tree. It has been observed that tomato plants growing too close to a walnut tree will wilt, because the walnut's roots exude a toxic substance. The walnut has this ability so that it can keep other plants away from its root system and provide the right environment for its own seedlings to grow. We wouldn't recommend imbibing walnut sap.

    How did the word smithing come about?

    Smith is an Old English word that denotes a craftsman who works in iron or other metals (blacksmith, tinsmith, coppersmith, and so on). A smithy is a workshop or forge, and smithing or smithying is the art or process of fashioning or forging metals.

    Where was the largest-magnitude earthquake in the 50 states, and when was it?

    The strongest recorded earthquake in the United States was near Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 27, 1964. Measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, it killed 131 people and caused a 50-foot tsunami that traveled 8,445 miles at 450 miles per hour. Tremors were felt in California, Hawaii, and Japan. However, another earthquake (or series of earthquakes), which was not recorded, is considered by many to have been the most severe in U.S. history. That was the New Madrid (Missouri) Earthquake, which started in December 1811 and lasted until March 1812. It shook more than two-thirds of the United States and was felt in Canada. It changed the level of the land by as much as 20 feet, altered the course of the Mississippi River, and created new lakes west of Mississippi and Tennessee. Because the area was so sparsely populated, there was no known loss of life.

    How can I make an old-fashioned mustard poultice to clear up bronchial and chest congestion?

    Combine four parts linseed oil, one part mustard flour, and enough lukewarm water to make a paste. (Use six parts linseed oil for a child's poultice.) Place a piece of muslin on your chest and cover it with the paste. Do not leave the poultice in place any longer than about 20 minutes.

    What's the best way to clean the glass on my home-office copy machine?

    Believe it or not, your best bet is a coffee filter. Coffee filters are lint-free and won't scratch, but they're excellent for removing dust and smudges.

    Why are undershirts called T-shirts?

    A T-shirt, or tee shirt, was originally worn only by men as an undershirt. Now it is defined as a short-sleeved, collarless undershirt or any outer shirt of a similar design. It got its name because it resembles the capital letter T in shape.

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