DEAR ABBY: One of my sisters-in-law has a recipe for pancakes and puts in a secret ingredient. She got the recipe from a relative who asked that the mystery never be revealed.
Well, the relative died recently, and I'd like to know what the ingredient is because those pancakes are out of this world! Would my sister-in-law be betraying his request by sharing the secret? She says she made a promise and is going to keep it. What do you think? -- CRAVING THE CAKES IN FLORIDA
DEAR CRAVING: Obviously, you have raised this subject with your sister-in-law and she refused to share the complete recipe. From that, I can only conclude that she plans to take her knowledge of the secret ingredient to her grave with her.
What do I think? I think she's acting selfishly because good food is meant to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.
P.S. If you really want to know what that secret ingredient is, you'll have to smuggle one of her pancakes out and have it analyzed by a laboratory.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend, "Dina," whom I have known since we were in kindergarten. (We are in our early teens now.) Her mom was in jail when she was a very young girl because of drugs, and she abandoned Dina. Because of this, my mother won't allow me to go to her house or let her come to our house.
Whenever Dina asks if we can hang out, I have to make up some excuse. She says, "You're always busy." I know it hurts her feelings when she hears I go to other friends' houses.
I know I need to respect my mother's wishes, but maybe we can make an agreement. Can you help me? -- DILEMMA WITH DINA IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DILEMMA: I'll try, but there are no guarantees that what I say will change your mother's mind.
Blaming Dina for her mother's mistakes is unfair to the girl. If your mother doesn't want you going to her house because she is afraid there might be "bad influences" -- her concerns may be valid.
However, for her to come to your home and see what a functional family is like and learn the values you are being taught would benefit her greatly. And it would be no threat to you. And that's why I hope your mother will find it in her heart to relent.
DEAR ABBY: I have an awesome relationship with "Jack." He's very attractive, polite, has a good job and is, basically, what I am looking for in a future husband.
My problem? Jack left his longtime girlfriend for me. So how do I know he isn't going to do the same thing to me? He swears he would never do it, but what if he was telling her the same thing? -- DAZED AND CONFUSED, MISSOULA, MONT.
DEAR DAZED AND CONFUSED: How old are you two? If you're teenagers, then Jack may still have acres of wild oats to sow, and what happened to his former girlfriend could happen to you.
However, if you are older and mature, then surely you realize that men who are happy and satisfied in their relationships do not usually leave their girlfriends "for" someone. They leave because something they feel is important is missing.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds)
to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)