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by Abigail Van Buren

Neighbor's Gift Nearly Puts Woman in the Hospital

DEAR ABBY: My neighbor, "Sandy," gave me a "thank-you pie" she had baked, saying it was a family recipe. I am aware that I have reactions to the standard allergens of life, bee stings and poison ivy, but after one bite of her pumpkin pie, I felt an intense burning sensation in my mouth and my throat swelled up. I always keep medication with me so I was able to check the reaction and stay out of the emergency room.

Sandy has called twice and left messages asking if I liked her pie. I haven't responded because I'm not sure what to say to her. I'd really like to know what was in that recipe so I can avoid it in the future. -- NO MORE PIE, PLEASE

DEAR N.M.P.P.: Apologize to Sandy for not returning her call sooner and explain that you didn't because you had a serious allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in her thank-you pie. Tell her you were fortunate to have had medication with you or you would have wound up in the emergency room. Then ask her what ingredients in the pie might have caused the reaction so you can avoid them in the future. It's a legitimate question, and if Sandy is a friend as well as a good neighbor, she will tell you.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Health & Safety | Etiquette & Ethics