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Sister-in-law won't share secret recipe

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.

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. 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 to her grave . I think she's acting selfishly because good food is meant to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

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Mom is cool to friendship

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. 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. I know it hurts her feelings when she hears I go to other friends' houses. 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. 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. I hope your mother will find it in her heart to relent.

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