Dear Heloise: I have just acquired an older-model cast-iron waffle maker, and I'm having a hard time removing the baked-on grease. I am thinking about using an oven cleaner, but I'm worried that it might not be safe. Any suggestions? -- C.S., Via E-mail
I hope you have not used an oven cleaner because it would NOT be safe.
Instead, wash the waffle iron with hot, soapy water, using a little elbow grease and a lot of patience for those stubborn areas, You should have success. Do not use any other abrasive, as it could damage the surface.
After cleaning, you will need to re-season the waffle iron before using. To do this, spread some unsalted shortening on both sides of four pieces of bread. Put one piece of the bread at a time in the waffle iron and cook until brown. Repeat with the remaining three pieces.
Note: Don't use vegetable spray on a heated waffle iron. The spray contains lecithin, which turns dark when sprayed on a hot surface and will build up a sticky residue. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: When warming food on small plates or in bowls (in the microwave -- Heloise), I have found coffee filters to be a good covering.
They have the advantage of covering the container in a tentlike manner, have more structure and stay out of the food much better. -- Tillman Hale, Victoria, Texas
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