Helen C. in Pinhook, Ind., asks: I have a bet going with my mother-in-law over which is better for light, flaky pie crusts: lard or butter. Which do you recommend?

Heloise says: It all depends on what type of crust you want. For fruit pies, flaky pie crusts are the best. For this you’ll need to use lard. As the lard evaporates, it creates pockets of steam, and that forms air pockets, making the crust flaky. If you want a mealy crust for cream pies or custard pies (it’s less likely to get soggy), use butter. There’s less evaporation, making the crust firmer.

Jean T. in Florissant, Mo., asks: My husband insists that “organic” and “natural” labels are the same thing, but I don’t think they are. Are they?

Heloise says: No, they are not the same thing. Generally, “natural” on a food label means no artificial preservatives, coloring or flavor enhancers were used on the item. The term “organic” includes growing methods, and to be truly organic, a farmer must follow organic certification guidelines.

— King Features