Letters to the Editor: Coffee Roasting, Beef Jerky, Two-Year-Olds, Gift Guides and More

Today I want to remind you, my dear readers, of just how much joy you bring to my life with your comments and feedback. You give me a daily dose of reality because I use my inbox to measure the “temperature” of how this blog is being received.

Now and then I get a comment, and I reluctantly tell you this, that’s just not fit to print. Others make me smile, and even cry from time to time. But all are joyfully received, regardless the content. That’s because they let me know that at least one someone out there is reading what I write!

Comments to How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans

Can one who drinks decaffeinated coffee do this?  If so, how? Lois

Yes! Decaffeinated raw green coffee beans are readily available. I now keep a supply myself so I have freshly roasted coffee for guests who prefer decaf. (My favorite based on guest feedback is this Decaf Columbian, about $30 for 5 pounds). I do find that decaf beans using  the Swiss water process for decaffeinating, roast faster than regular beans, so I watch decaf roasting even more closely. 

I have been following you for years and enjoyed the post on home roasting coffee beans. We are in search of the “perfect” coffee maker. French press, pour-over, drip—which is your favorite? Lynne

I’ve tested and tried (sometimes cried) so many coffee makers and while there are lots of good ones, I’m not into fussy when it comes to coffee. I want to have great, hot coffee available at a moment’s notice. At the Hunt House, we have this BUNN Pourover Coffee Brewer in a prominent location. It’s the first thing people see when they walk in. BUNN makes the best brewers that turn out the best coffee, in my opinion. This thing is fast! The coffee starts filling the carafe while I’m still pouring in the water. That’s because it has a reserve tank keeping the water at the perfect temperature and at the ready for the next pot. I can’t tell you how many pots of coffee we make each day but it’s more than three and fewer than five.

Next step: Get some ferrets and make your own Kopi Luwak coffee?! I really enjoy your articles. Tim

Oh my … this is quite hilarious. I assume that you’ve enjoyed this dubious Kopi Luwak goodness? Excuse me … I think I just got a delivery from Amazon. It’s got to be my new pet ferret! I’ll keep you posted.

Comments to Make It Yourself: Beef Jerky, French Salad Dressing, Steak Sauce 

The lowest temperature on my electric oven is 170 degrees. Do you think it will still work for making beef jerky? Wiski

Yes, you can. Do this: Set the temp to 170 F., then prop the door open by sticking the handle of a wooden spoon (not plastic; it will melt!) near the top of the door. That will allow air to circulate and keep the inside temperature lower. 

Comment to Lessons from a Two-Year-Old

I am sitting here in pain due to a badly broken right arm, laughing my fool head off. Your Eli story has given me total joy! Mary, the next time you move, please make that move to Lansdale, Penn., next door to me. I need you near me. Lyn P.S. Bring the grandsons with you!

Comment to Money-Saving Tricks to Put Your Freezer To Work

I agree with the paper towel trick. Amazing! I don’t understand it either. My best guess is that it wicks away condensation. Pop one in with your cheese before freezing too. It keeps it from getting mushy when defrosting, which you should ALWAYS do in the fridge not only for safety but also to, well, keep it from getting mushy. Give it a try. Kathleen

Comment on Ask Me Anything: Vacuum Cleaner and Home Chef Packaging Material

I thought I would write a quick response to the Home Chef ice pack disposal dilemma. Instead of throwing out and/or recycling, schools would love these!  There are always daily adventures that require the use of an ice pack and we often don’t have enough. I know I scooped a few from someone recently and I know, as a teacher, I would never say no if offered more! Thanks for your continued good advice! Sandra

Comments on Everyday Cheapskate Gift Guides

As a wife who has received many unwanted kitchen/household items touted in your columns for holidays such as VALENTINE’S DAY, Christmas, (not to mention Birthday and Anniversary), might I ask a favor of you?  Would you please think twice about your timing on promoting these utilitarian items so close to gift-giving holidays?  The last item I want, especially for Valentine’s Day, is an Instant Pot. Men read newspapers and don’t listen to what their wives would LIKE to have for holidays; they listen to what you promote. Better yet, perhaps you could use your column to direct men on what women would really prefer to receive on a romantic holiday? Shari

I never use email. I am using my wife’s account here, which I also sneak into when I need ideas for gifts to buy her. She has taught me how to find her file of your columns labeled, Gift Guides by Mary Hunt. You have saved my bacon more than a few times. She thinks you can read her mind and I wouldn’t doubt it. Thanks. Greg

Comments on Mailable Cookies to Make Someone’s Day

We send 100s of boxes of cookies to the military overseas and grateful recipients tell us they also eat and enjoy the popcorn we use for packing! Rita

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  • UncommonSensesc

    On the Gift Guide – men need all the help you or anyone can give them. My husband, who I’ve been with for 20 years, sent flowers to me this past Valentine’s Day! It was like he had just met me, didn’t have a clue what I’d like so he sent flowers. I know, I know, I should be grateful – but I’m not! I have always been of the mind set that flowers are the biggest waste of money ever, especially on Valentine’s Day. I think in my lifetime I’ve received 2 flower arrangements (also for Valentine’s Day) that were even to my taste. While I realize that it’s the thought that counts, I honestly wonder what some men think! Money aside (and that’s hard to do since we’re always penny pinching due to me being unemployed), the fact that flowers die aside, we have cats so I wound up having to sit the arrangement in a rarely used room and close all the doors to keep the cats away from them. I would have given anything if he’d have just stopped on his way home from work and picked up supper so I didn’t have to cook – I don’t care if it had been a burger and fries as long as I didn’t have to cook! How do men survive?

  • Kimberley Hunter

    How, exactly, is Mary supposed to respond to Shari’s comment? Hey Shari, if your husband doesn’t pick up on your hints, try making them even more obvious. Or even try telling him explicitly, exactly what it is that you want. Don’t try enlisting Mary into helping you. Not all women want the same thing.