Dear Readers: Recently, I asked you what is the oldest thing in your refrigerator. Wow! Did you reply, and my, oh my, what interesting things lurk in the backs of those shelves. We had lots of fun and many times would shake our heads reading your letters! Thanks to all the readers who took the time to drop us a line.

Dr. Charles H. Luedtke of New Ulm, Minn., says: "I think I take the cake with the oldest refrigerator item. I have a couple of bottles of 74-year-old dandelion wine! My mother and grandmother made it."

Marion Smith of Phoenix says: "I have a 59-year-old jar of strawberry facial mask!"

Dorothy Trevethick, who reads the column in the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, says: "I have a 56-year-old unopened bottle of beer. This bottle was the last one of a case that was sent to me from Munich, Germany, shortly before a friend whose enlistment was up was due to come home. When he got back, some friends and I had a welcome-home party, and all but this one bottle was consumed."

Leno Oneto of Elk Grove, Calif., says: "The oldest thing is a piece of our wedding cake. We were married on Nov. 27, 1955. It was an Italian rum cake, and I guess the rum really preserved it well."

Carol Loven of San Antonio says: "I have a sliver of cocoa butter given to me when I left a hospital in May of 1955!"

Sandra Weisberg, from Arizona, says: "Almost 50 years ago, my two sons had their tonsils removed. Their father gave each a chocolate character. Well, as soon as they saw their new candy, they wanted to eat it. I told them they had to wait until their throats healed. They are still waiting."

Steve Jenne of Springfield, Ill., says: "Stored safely in a remote corner of my refrigerator's freezer compartment is a half-eaten buffalo barbecue sandwich that will be 47 years old this coming September! I 'salvaged' it after then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon left it on his picnic table during a political stop in my hometown in 1960. I have no plans to discard this historical piece of memorabilia, so it will probably outlive me."

Mary Ellen Ball of Fredericksburg, Va., says: "I have candy birds and dolls that were decorations on my baby-shower cake. They have been in my refrigerator for 44-plus years."

So, there are some old things in those refrigerators, aren't there? — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I collect lots of recipes and sort them into 9-by-12-inch envelopes. The recipes that we like make it into my recipe binder. The recipes that make the binder are tried, tested and proved delicious by family and friends. So, when you want to try a new recipe, choose from the envelopes — if it's a keeper, it goes in the binder. — Cory from San Diego

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 210-435-6473; e-mail: [email protected]. © King Features Syndicate Inc.