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Shipping tips for holiday goodies

Whether sending a food care package across town or around the world, there are some do's and don'ts that apply to the U.S. Postal Service and other commercial mail services, such as Federal Express and United Parcel Service. When it comes to government service, the fastest way to send food is by express mail. For most locations in the United States, that means your package will be delivered the next day. An example of cost is $8.75 for 8 ounces and $12 for 2 pounds.

Food can also be sent first class or priority mail; the classification depends on how much the item weighs.

First class applies to packages that are 11 ounces or less, while parcels 11 ounces to 70 pounds are classified priority. Parcels sent with this rating take two days to reach most destinations, three days to reach rural addresses. Cost is $2.40 for packages less than 2 pounds. With parcels weighing more than that, the rate will depend on where they are going.

On overseas mail, each country has its own rate structure.

For people interested in sending care packages to Army, Air Force and Marine Corps ground troops involved in Operation Desert Shield, the address is Any Service Member, Operation Desert Shield, APO, New York, N.Y. 09848-0006. Packages to Navy and Marine Corps personnel on ships should be sent to Any Service Member, Operation Desert Shield, FPO, New York, N.Y. 09866-0006.

Food send to the Middle East should be able to withstand extreme temperatures. Pork items or byproducts are not permitted.

First-class or priority mail sent to Desert Shield takes five to 10 days to arrive. Christmas parcels going to Desert Shield should be mailed by Nov. 16.

Any item being mailed should be packaged in a sturdy carton with cushioning such as Styrofoam popcorn or shredded newspaper.

Packages should be sealed with string tape or packing tape. Wrapping should not be used on the box. The delivery address should be written on the outside of the parcel only once. Inside, include a slip of paper with your name and address as well as that of the recipient.

Unlike Federal Express, the U.S. Postal Service and UPS do not insure food. Federal Express has a packaging hot line that customers with questions about packaging may ask for when calling any Federal Express number.

If you wish to send cookies to the service men and women in the Saudi Arabia, here is a recipe that should hold up well. It originally appeared in the Food section Oct. 4, but it had an error in the ingredients (too much baking soda). This is the corrected recipe.

Crisp Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup vegetable shortening

} cup granulated sugar

} cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons water

1{ cups flour

{ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups uncooked oatmeal (not instant)

{ cup chopped walnuts

{ cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets. Combine shortening and sugars and beat until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs, vanilla and water and beat until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and beat until completely mixed. Add oatmeal, walnuts and raisins and stir until thoroughly blended.

Arrange by rounded teaspoonsful on greased cookie sheets, placing them about 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies slightly with wet fingertips into rounds about 1{ inches across and inch thick. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies have spread a little and are brown all over. Makes about 60 cookies.

_ From The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.