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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: We have a problem with relatives not knowing when a visit should end. They call on weekend afternoons to say they'll be stopping over for an hour or so. Well, the couple of hours stretch into five or six, and then it's dinnertime.

How does one "push" these uninvited guests out the door so that we can proceed with our dinner? I'm not prepared for four, five or six dinner "guests" -- nor do I feel I should be.

It has become very stressful, since these are my husband's relatives and I must watch what I say, and I don't even want these people visiting. Don't people realize how rude it is to overstay their visit? -- STEAMED IN MINNESOTA

DEAR STEAMED: I'm sure that most people realize it's rude to overstay their welcome -- but when it comes to "family," they suspend the formalities.

The next time it happens, do what many other families do. Say, "Let's order out for a pizza and split the bill!"

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have a dilemma and hope you can provide an answer. We will soon celebrate our 40th anniversary. We want to have a small dinner for those people who were in our wedding party. (There are only a few left.) We would also like to invite some close friends.

We would like to include something in our invitations that would relay a "sincere message" that we do not want any gifts. The presence of our friends and family to help us celebrate this occasion is the best gift we could receive.

Please do not reveal my name. We have not completed our guest list, and I would not like to slight anyone. -- WANTS TO OFFEND NO ONE

DEAR WANTS: Yours is a question I receive at least once a year. The message can be worded as follows: "No gifts, please. Your presence will be our cherished gift, and we respectfully request no other."

DEAR ABBY: As I type this letter I am eating the last bite of a slice of the cheesecake that I made yesterday for my family. It is, of course, your wonderful recipe. I have made about 15 of them since the recipe was last printed in the newspaper. My family loves it. The only dessert they have raved about as much is your pecan pie recipe. I don't much care for pecan pie myself -- but I love this one.

It was mentioned in your column that you have written a cookbooklet. I would like to know where to get one or two. I love to find delicious recipes that are also easy to prepare. -- GAIL SAUNDERS, KANSAS CITY, MO.

DEAR GAIL: I'm delighted that my dessert recipes have been such a hit with your family. I have actually published two cookbooklets: "Dear Abby's Favorite Recipes," followed by "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." (The cheesecake recipe is found in the first one, but there are recipes that are equally delicious in the second one as well.)

If you're as busy as I am -- and most people are these days -- yet want to serve something special to your family and friends, you'll find delectable, easy recipes for foods from appetizers to fabulous desserts. All of my recipes have to be easy to assemble as well as tasty because during the last 40 years I haven't had a lot of time to spend in the kitchen!

To order my family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 for each booklet ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklets, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

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