Renovation & Design

Avoid lumpy cheese sauces by adding something acidic

FOODLAND ONTARIO/Chicken, corn and zucchini enchiladas are delicious, topped with melted cheese.

Question: There is nothing better than a hot dish topped with melted cheese. Whenever I make cheese sauce, it becomes stringy and the cheese won’t incorporate into the dish without making a clumpy mess. What am I doing wrong?

— Jess

Answer: As you incorporate the cheese, be sure to stir constantly and keep the stove temperature low (or off) so that the cheese does not heat too quickly. A double boiler is a great helper for making smooth cheese sauces. A little hint, whenever you make cheese sauce, add something acidic to your pot, such as lemon juice, vinegar or wine. Doing this will break up the molecules and prevent clumping.

Here’s a recipe for making yummy cheese sauce: into a pot (or double boiler), melt two tablespoons of butter and stir in two tablespoons of flour to create a roux. After one or two minutes, the mixture will turn golden brown and bubble slightly. Stir in one cup of one per cent (or thicker) milk and one tbsp. lemon juice (vinegar or wine) and simmer for one minute. Here’s the trick: remove the pot from the stove and add one cup shredded cheese, stir until melted. Pour over broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, french fries or nacho chips.


Question: Do you have any solutions or preventions for yellowed linoleum around forced-air registers?

— David

Answer: I am assuming your flooring is vinyl. In order to prevent discolouration from occurring under the lip of vent covers, secure masking tape underneath the area. Yellowing stains that are already present are tricky to remove and, in many cases, permanent. You have nothing to lose by trying the following: pour three per cent hydrogen peroxide onto the area every day for three days. Do not wipe, and observe whether the stains become less noticeable. Some people have had great results by using oven cleaner to remove these stains. Test on an inconspicuous area first because what works on one type of vinyl will not necessarily work on another. If desperate, consider purchasing a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide from a hair salon.

Just as a side note, the terms vinyland linoleum are often used interchangeably. Vinyl is made from synthetic fibres. The main body is cardboard or vinyl that is covered with one sheet that contains the design, another sheet for the finish, followed by a protective coat of varying thickness. Linoleum is a 100 per cent natural product. It contains linseed oil, cork powder, natural resins, colour mineral pigments and other natural materials. As linseed oxidizes, the linoleum gets harder. Linoleum is a more durable product than vinyl and is ideal for high-traffic areas. Linoleum is currently making a big comeback. Vinyl and linoleum need to be treated differently.


Made in Manitoba tips

To avoid dropping egg shells into food during cooking/baking, crack the shell onto a flat surface, such as a table or counter instead of the side of the bowl.

— Emily

Save time when peeling potatoes. Boil water in a large pot. While water is heating, score each potato skin around the width of each potato. Boil potatoes for 15 minutes. Place potatoes in ice water. When cool enough to touch, pull off potato skins. Prepare as normal.

— Brittany

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Have a great suggestion or tip? Please send an email at: Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:


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