It has been a while since I shared some of my mail with all of you, so here goes:

ó Babette from Columbus, Ohio, emailed to point out that the recipe for linguini with clam sauce, which ran last week, instructed to throw away any clams that do not open in the cooking process.

She noted, however, that I also should have told readers to discard any clams that have opened before cooking.

Babette is correct: Any clams that open before cooking should be discarded.

A reputable fishmonger will pack fresh clams on ice for transport home, and clams should remain refrigerated on ice before cooking. Purchasing them on the day they will be prepared is a good idea ó to prevent any from opening before cooking.

Thanks, Babette, for helping to keep us safe.

ó Sally from Westerville, Ohio, took issue with some recent advice I gave in ďAsk Lisa,Ē suggesting that leftover bread be given to backyard birds as a last resort for using it.

Bread, she said, isnít good for birds; we would be better off feeding them mulch, Sally said.

Iím not sure about mulch, but here is what I do know: Nothing in bread would be nutritionally harmful to birds. According to information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, white bread is very similar nutritionally to millet, or bird seed.

Bread is about as good for birds as it is for people. Too much bread isnít good for humans, and too much bread isnít good for birds. Nutritionally speaking, bread offers a lot of calories and carbohydrates.

I didnít mean to suggest that people feed birds a steady diet of old bread, but the occasional slice or roll shouldnít harm them. I also suspect that the squirrels will find it and feast on it before any birds get a chance to peck at it.

There has been much written about not feeding bread to ducks at ponds, which is worth noting. Ducks often get too much bread from well-meaning folks who enjoy feeding them.

Ducks, however, tend to get lazy and forget how to be natural foragers. That means their diets become nutritionally unsound (and problematic) from excessive bread when they fail to eat their natural diets, which should include a wide variety of plants, worms, insects and fish eggs, among other foraged items.

If you want to feed to ducks at your favorite pond, consider lettuce leaves. Better yet, just watch the ducks and enjoy your commune with nature ó and let ducks take care of feeding themselves.

ó Lisa Abraham writes about food for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Email her at labraham@dispatch.com or follow her on Twitter at @DispatchKitchen.