Dear TMH: Time for a Lightning Round to Purge my Inbox

In this edition of Dear TMH – the first of the new year – I clean out the questions and comments I never got around to answering last year. There’s nothing like starting the year with a clean slate. Want me to test out a recipe or a cleaning tactic you’ve heard about? I’ll do that, too. Just e-mail, or post a note in the comments.

Tatiana asks: Do you have any tips about how to get fish odors out of the house? Hopefully we’ll get a gas bbq at some point, but meantime I cook fish by frying it or broiling it. And that leaves the house smelling fishy for a while.

Three suggestions: Soak the fish in milk for about an hour before cooking. Leave a bowl of white vinegar out on the kitchen counter while you are cooking; pour it out an hour or two after you are done cooking. The vinegar smell will dissipate quickly and there should be much less lingering fish smell. Finally, make sure to thoroughly clean up any fishy oil that might have splattered.

Susanstokes66 asks: I have a cleaning company and love your blog … Next problem for you to look into: wooden floors. I have cleaned them with products and vinegar and still when I go back over them I lift more dirt off, is this because the dirt gets into the grain and is hard to fully remove? Thank you!!

I don’t want to second-guess a professional cleaner, but have you tried my two-bucket cleaning technique? (Scroll down to read the section about cleaning hardwood floors.)  Even in college, when my apartment hardwood floors would get filthy during parties, the two-bucket method did the trick.

Gage asks: Just moved into a home with carpet in bathroom around clear shower walls.  Splatters from cleaners (I have hard water) are removing color in spots on carpet. Does Bar Keepers Friend remove color on carpet?  HELP

I just tested Bar Keepers Friend on a corner of my own bathroom rug and it did not make a spot. Another good thing about BKF is it is in non-spray form so is much less likely to splatter.

Kate asks: Can you recommend an online source for white truffle butter?

After reading a variety of food forums, my conclusion is that the consensus pick is D’artagnan online.

JDanver asks: Any purely whole grain bread recipes?

Try either Turtle Bean and Raisin Bread, Seeded Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, or Healthy Honey Wheat Bread. All are unique and delicious. I’m partial to the honey wheat bread because it’s a straightforward recipe I developed myself.

  • Tatiana and Jim Promessi

    I’ll try the vinegar bowl idea when cooking fish and let you know what happens. I really hope this technique will help. I’m still waiting to buy a gas BBQ, maybe by next summer we’ll buy one. Perhaps you can research gas BBQ’s and how to get the best flavors from them.

  • Trisha Sue

    Thanks for the tips. I really get a lot of home ideas from this site.

  • Loren

    I see you wear a beard? Any handy tips for cleaning up or managing the trimmings on and around the sink? My partner wears a beard and unfortunately, his trimmings stick to any buildup in our sink or any wet areas on the counter and make a royal mess.

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