Dear Heloise: I’ve heard that a lot of the fish we buy might be “FARM-RAISED.” What does that mean, and are there any differences from fish caught in our oceans? — Esther J., Mulvane, Kansas

Esther, there are pros and cons to farm-raised versus wild. Farm-raised fish can be raised in abandoned factories or empty shopping centers. They also can meet the growing demand for fish and therefore not contribute to overfishing, which has become a problem in our oceans.

But farm-raised fish don’t usually eat the same things as wild fish, and since fish are prized for their omega-3 fatty acid that mainly comes from algae, farm-raised fish have algae added to their food.

As far as any other differences, farm-raised fish may have a little more fat in their diet, so they might be more tender in texture, while wild-caught fish might be leaner. — Heloise

Holiday Munchies

Dear Heloise: You once had a recipe for a microwaved fudge that I made and took to a party. Everyone loved it, so could you reprint that recipe for me and other fudge-loving folks? — Addie L., Sheridan, Wyoming

Addie, this is one of the easiest recipes I know of, and everyone enjoys it. You will need:

1 pound powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

4 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine all ingredients except the nuts in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until all the ingredients in the mixture are melted and smooth. Remove and stir periodically. When the mixture is smooth, remove from the microwave and stir in the nuts. Spread the mixture into a buttered 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and allow to cool completely before cutting into bite-size pieces.

You can find this and other yummy recipes in my Heloise’s Fudge and Other Recipes pamphlet. To receive a copy, send $2, along with a long, stamped (55 cents), self-addressed envelope, to: Heloise/Fudge, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001. With all the various recipes my fudge pamphlet provides, you’ll have lots of treats available for company during the coming holiday season. — Heloise

Lesson Learned

Dear Heloise: Please caution your readers to always unplug an appliance, such as a toaster or a coffeepot, before cleaning it. My daughter was trying to remove a piece of toast in our toaster by using a knife. She got a shock — a mild one, but it might have been much worse. — Peggy D., Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Peggy, yes, always unplug those appliances before trying to work on them or clean them. — Heloise

Oven Racks

Dear Heloise: My oven racks won’t come clean when I scrub them. What else should I do to clean them? — Renee R., Muncie, Indiana

Renee, take them outside, if possible, put them in a large, heavy-duty plastic trash bag and spray them with oven cleaner or ammonia. Then close the bag tight. You can also clean the racks in the bathtub with this method, but make doubly certain the bag is sealed tightly and does not leak! — Heloise

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