Country Lore

| November/December 1984

radiator leak - cartoon illustration of a car sneezing because it's been given pepper

Hopefully, pouring pepper into your car's radiator to stop a radiator leak won't also cause automotive sneezing.

Illustration by Jack Vaughn

Nothing to Sneeze At

"A long time ago I heard that coarse-ground black pepper could be used to temporarily plug leaks in an automobile's cooling system," writes Ron Spears of Williamsport, Indiana. He goes on to describe how he finally got a chance to try it. "We were on a drive with friends, 90 miles from home, when a large leak developed in the car's radiator. It was late and the only service station around was closed, so we limped to a nearby roadside supermarket, where I purchased some coarse ground black pepper. I poured about half the can of pepper into the radiator, added some water, put the cap back on, started the car . . . and it worked! That pepper stopped up a 3"-long split in the top of the radiator, enabling us to make it home. After that experience, we keep a can of pepper in our car's tool kit at all times."

Overall Overhaul

Frank Barnett of Kendallville, Indiana, has discovered a way to convert worn-out bib overalls into a handy shop or garden apron. Take it away, Frank . . .

"First, cut the legs off an otherwise useless pair of bibs, just above the knees. Then split the leg seams-both inner and outer-all the way up, so that you have a completely separated front and back. Now sew the legs together, as in Fig. 2, and hem. Next, cut the shoulder straps where they're attached to the back of the overalls, and sew the cut ends together to provide one long strap with a clasp on each end. Finally, cut a strip out of the waist area of the back piece of the bibs, as shown in Fig. 3, so that you have a button on each end. This will serve as a waist strap (if it's not long enough, you can splice in a piece from one of the cutoff legs).

"You now have a durable apron with many pockets for seeds, nails, tools, and other small items . . . and you've also recycled an otherwise shot pair of overalls."

Italian Chow Mein Noodles

"I invariably cook more spaghetti noodles than I need," confesses Faye Lilley of Danville, Illinois. "But finally, recalling the dubious tale that Marco Polo brought spaghetti to Italy from China, I improvised an excellent way to recycle the unsauced strands of pasta. I drain the unused noodles thoroughly and then french fry them.

This makes the crispiest chow mein noodles I've ever had. And not only are those improvised Oriental noodles free (since I would have tossed out the leftover spaghetti from which they're made), they're also tastier than the canned variety."

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