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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Cooking Is Bone of Contention With Fiance

DEAR ABBY: My fiance hates my cooking. Every time I make a meal and ask him what he thinks, he has a different complaint. If I correct what he complained about, he finds a new complaint.

I made a meatloaf. He said the onions overpowered it. I made a romantic, candlelit dinner of chicken and roasted potatoes with a cream sauce. He called it weird. When I prepare a time-consuming dinner, he smothers it with ketchup or salad dressing. It's always "too much salt," "too bland," "needs something," or "not like my mother made," etc.

Abby, I have told him this is hurtful, but he still complains. He has even called my cooking "gross."

I'm sure it isn't that I can't cook -- other people love what I prepare, and my mother says I'm a natural. I have been cooking since I was 11 years old.

My fiance also cooks occasionally, and when he does, I always compliment him on whatever he makes. Is it too much to expect him to express appreciation for my efforts? -- CRUSHED IN ARLINGTON, TEXAS

DEAR CRUSHED: Since you can't please your fiance and he knows how to cook, turn the chore over to him. When you feel the urge to cook, do it for your friends who appreciate your culinary skills.

Your fiance may get his fill of cooking if he has to do all of it, and then he may be glad to let you take over. However, refuse unless he promises not to criticize, to give you a compliment now and then, and share his recipes and culinary secrets.

DEAR ABBY: Some time ago, you printed a letter about people carelessly opening car doors in parking lots, marring adjacent cars. Paint nicks and surface dents barely scratch the surface of this issue. But car doors opened into traffic cause much worse damage -- to bicyclists.

Most states require cyclists to ride on the right, beside parked cars. No cyclist is psychic enough to anticipate when a car door is about to open in front of him, and many serious injuries have resulted from such an action.

A growing number of people commute by bicycles, and most cyclists will tell you that their most constant fear is getting "doored." It's happened to me, and although it was painful, I was fortunate that my bicycle was damaged more than my body.

Vehicle occupants have the benefit of rearview mirrors. This is why most states require drivers to check those mirrors and only then carefully open the doors without impeding traffic -- including bicycles.

If you drive, please remember that cyclists aren't just "careless kids." Many of us are responsible adults who've speeded up your commute by keeping our cars off the road. In return, please realize that we are vulnerable, and check your mirror carefully before reaching for your door handle. -- MICHAEL KATZ, STEERING COMMITTEE, BICYCLE-FRIENDLY BERKELEY COALITION

DEAR MICHAEL: You've given voice to a small but important group who care about the environment as well as their own safety. More pedal power to you!

DEAR ABBY: My problem is I curse way too much. I truly would like to stop, because I hate cursing.

I am 36 years old and have three young children, all under 10 years old. I lose my patience with my kids, and that's when I use the worst of words.

I'm a good parent otherwise, and I love my children very much. But I need to quit cursing. Please help! -- CURSING MOM

DEAR CURSING MOM: When you feel like cursing, substitute an acceptable word or phrase for the curse words. I had a neighbor who, when angered, would shout, "Holy Moses!" and, "Gosh darn son-of-a-sea-cook!"

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600