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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Fears She May Love Newfound Family Too Much

DEAR ABBY: Is it rude to label one's leftover food when staying with relatives? My husband, daughter and I visit his family often. When we go out to eat and bring leftovers back to the house, we usually label them if we want to eat them later.

It has never seemed out of the ordinary to me. I was raised that way. My mother always said that if I didn't want something eaten by one of my siblings, then I should label it.

Recently, my husband's sister (who is 16) asked if she could eat the rest of some pizza we had bought the night before. I politely responded that I planned to have it for lunch. She remarked that she thinks it is funny that we are so protective of our food. It got me to thinking -- is our behavior odd? -- TAKEN ABACK IN WASHINGTON

DEAR TAKEN ABACK: Considering that you come from a family in which anything in the fridge was considered fair game among your siblings, it's not odd at all. And when your sister-in-law said what she did, you should have explained that to her. Had you done so, she wouldn't have questioned it.