Sara Elliott has written over 400 articles for HowStuffWorks on topics ranging from who invented the cupcake to Cuban traditions.

Recent Contributions

You probably don't give your water heater much thought until your shower goes cold but it's an important appliance in your home. Find out how these produce hot water and which is right for you.

By Sara Elliott & Talon Homer

These days, everyone has very busy lives, and communities sometimes seem to suffer for it. These 10 ideas will bring back the neighborly spirit in all of us.

By Sara Elliott

Chinese New Year is made up of a rich fabric of symbols, traditions and superstitions designed to influence the future. With a cultural heritage that spans more than 5,000 years, it's a 15-day celebration filled food that may shape your future.

By Sara Elliott & Francisco Guzman

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You've picked tomatoes from your garden and made a scrumptious homemade sauce on your stove. But the consistency just isn't right. Don't worry; there are a ton of ways to thicken up your sauce.

By Sara Elliott

A buried bubble trapped in your nail polish finish can really mess it up. So how can you fix it?

By Sara Elliott

For a lot of people, there just isn't time to clean the whole house, top to bottom, every week. That's where the convenience of a maid service comes in. What risks are you taking by hiring someone else to do the dirty work?

By Sara Elliott

With today's growing number of bed bug infestations, buying secondhand furniture has taken on a whole new meaning. But we have some tips to keep you bargain hunting.

By Sara Elliott

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Dalmatians are highly energetic and protective. They need owners that will stay active, so couch potatoes need not apply.

By Sara Elliott

Now that you've gotten rid of those pesky vermin, it's time to clean up their mess. But you'll have to go beneath the surface to get the job done.

By Sara Elliott

When we broach the topic of cake, we start getting into passionate territory. People define important moments in life, like birthdays, weddings and holidays, with cake. But where did this obsession begin?

By Sara Elliott

For over a generation, school children have been taught that the tongue could distinguish four tastes: salty, sweet, bitter and sour. But can kids taste one of these more than adults can?

By Sara Elliott

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If you're planning a walk to the park, afternoon on the beach or scenic drive, take along a few classic picnic foods that will satisfy your discriminating palate while celebrating the luxury of eating in the open air.

By Sara Elliott

Unleavened breads have been around longer than most other foods on the market today, but people don't pay much attention. You may be surprised to learn that many breads you eat are unleavened.

By Sara Elliott

Canned tomatoes come diced, stewed, whole, sauced and in paste. But can one substitute for the other? After all, they're all tomatoes, right?

By Sara Elliott

If you're a reader, or if you just like books, there's money and a treasure trove of historical significance in old tomes. But how do you keep them in top condition?

By Sara Elliott

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We pass-on what we prize. So what heirlooms do we value most? Here's our Top 10.

By Sara Elliott

If you're looking to have a party with a unique spin, host a masquerade ball. Your guests can mingle incognito and everyone can have fun guessing who's who.

By Sara Elliott

Once you finish tricking out the man cave, a boy bash is inevitable, and what's fun for a girl's night probably won't translate. Here are five ideas that will have your boys excited.

By Sara Elliott

Crafts are a great way to entertain young guests and provide a fun alternative to the traditional birthday goodie bag.

By Cristen Conger & Sara Elliott

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The volatile housing market, money woes and uncertainty at work can make the idea of home ownership downright scary for many first-time home buyers. You want to make the right decision about whether to rent or buy a house, but lacking a crystal ball, what should you do?

By Sara Elliott

New construction looks a lot different than it did even five years ago, but there are some plans that have stood the test of time.

By Sara Elliott

Before you buy a house, it's recommended that you always get a home inspection to weed out any problems. But the inspection doesn't cover everything, so you'll have to be a super sleuth yourself to expose potential issues.

By Sara Elliott

Valentine's Day is a day of romance and sweet gestures, so what better day to propose? Here's how to tell a proposal is in the works for you this year.

By Sara Elliott

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Cooking a turkey is a huge job for any chef. Just the size of the bird itself can be intimidating, not to mention all of the horror stories associated with the ghosts of ruined turkeys past. But it's easier than ever to cook the perfect bird.

By Sara Elliott

A tooth infection may seem like little more than an inconvenience, but it could actually be doing some serious damage.

By Alia Hoyt & Sara Elliott