DEAR ABBY: I am a widower who enjoys maintaining contact with -- and occasionally entertaining -- the friends my wife and I shared before her death. At a dinner party I hosted last weekend, one of those friends nearly died.
This lovely lady, who has been a friend for nearly 20 years, is allergic to peanuts. With the exception of her husband, no one else at the party knew this. One of the appetizers I made that night was skewered chicken with a peanut dipping sauce. She sampled it and went into respiratory failure.
Fortunately, the paramedics were able to sustain her breathing until she could be rushed to the emergency room. Thank God she is recovering nicely.
Last night, I received a phone call from her daughter, who berated me for nearly "killing" her mother and threatened to sue me for negligence. Abby, I'll be honest. I didn't react to her accusations gracefully.
Another close friend is allergic to shellfish. My dinner companions and I make it a point to carefully isolate any shellfish dishes from other food being served when this friend is present. We know that even a bit of sauce dripped from a serving spoon that has come in contact with shellfish can create a health hazard for her.
She does her part by taking responsibility for herself. She doesn't hesitate to ask about each dish being served, so she'll know if one of them could cause an allergic reaction. If the lady with the peanut allergy had done this, she wouldn't have suffered a close call at my home last weekend.
Please warn your readers to be open about their food allergies. -- DON'T BLAME THE COOK, HI NELLA, N.J.
DEAR COOK: The woman's daughter was reacting out of fear, so I hope you weren't too hard on her. Your point about adults taking charge of their allergies is an important one.