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Food focus becoming obsession

Dear Abby: My friend "Veronica" is obsessed with food -- not just eating it, but also talking about it, looking at it and watching me eat. She frequently asks me what I'm eating, especially if it's something I have made. I can't open a container of yogurt without her asking what flavor it is.

On a daily basis, Veronica announces what she's making for dinner that night, what she made the night before and what kind of desserts she has planned. I used to share my food with her, but I stopped when she wanted bites I didn't offer. I had to stop buying from the vending machine at work, too, because Veronica began to expect to share. When I refused, she'd make "joking" snide remarks. She never has any money to return the favors.

Veronica will tap her cup on the table and watch me out of the corner of her eye. Or, she'll stare at what I'm eating. If anyone at the table has extra food or dessert, Veronica will be the first to take it. She could tell you what all five women at that table had for lunch that day, but she's particularly interested in mine.

Veronica is a good cook and she's not overweight. But she's driving me crazy. Is her obsession some kind of disorder?

-- Food-Shy in Ohio

Dear Food-Shy: Your friend does seem to be preoccupied with food. From your description of her behavior it's surprising that she doesn't have a weight problem. Yet you say she makes dinners and desserts every night.

Could it be that she doesn't eat breakfast or lunch, which is why she's mooching off the others? Or could she be short of money? While I agree that what you have described could be signs of an obsession, it is possible that the woman is famished.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.