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Dear Abby: Avid cook savors joy on guests’ faces

Dear Abby: I have come to realize that the best thing a person can do for anyone is to cook something for them. I enjoy the expression on their faces when they take the first bite, and the positive compliments I receive.

I have a cookbook collection that, at present, numbers more than 3,200 items. I actually ran out of room for all of it in my home. Nevertheless, I would like to order your cookbooklets — I guess you could say in order to “feed” my obsession. I’d love to know which of the recipes are among your favorites.

— Cooking It Up in Vermont

Dear Cooking: For years, I, too, obsessively collected cookbooks, so I relate to your addiction. Be careful what you wish for! (My late husband used to walk by the crowded shelves muttering that he couldn’t understand why I didn’t actually prepare the recipes, but it was the photographs that hooked me.)

The recipes in my cookbooklet set of two are ones that I have used for entertaining. Among my favorites in “Favorite Recipes” are the Company Crab Dip, Lobster Bisque, Sweet Potato Casserole (Thanksgiving), Everybody’s Favorite Meatloaf, Burgundy Lamb Shanks, Fruitcake (Yes, I know — but THIS one IS good!), the Famous Pecan Pie (a blue ribbon winner) and the Chocolate Mousse. Among my favorites from “More Favorite Recipes” are the Little Mushroom “Pies,” Cathy Lee’s Rice, Eggplant Mozzarella Casserole, Cornish Game Hens (stuffed with raisins, walnuts and apple), Chocolate Zucchini Cake (it’s healthy!), Raw Apple Cake With Caramel Glaze, Heavenly Peanut Butter Pie and Regency Brownies.

For anyone not experiencing sugar shock after reading this, my booklets can be ordered by sending name and address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

After reviewing this list, my mouth is watering, my toes are curling and I’m realizing what a miracle it is that I’m not six ax handles across, but these are dishes I prepare for GUESTS — not my own daily consumption. Readers have written to tell me some of them have won prizes at county fairs in years past, so I’m sure you will enjoy them, too.

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