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Dear Abby: I baked a Southern Comfort Cake that contained 1/2 cup of Southern Comfort (80 percent proof alcohol) in the mix and 1/4 cup in the glaze. My husband would not let our 8-year-old have any. I was told by the person who gave me the recipe that when you cook alcohol, it evaporates, leaving the flavor. This has caused much confusion in my family. Would you please tell me if this is the truth or a myth about cooking with alcohol?

- Cooking With AlcoholDear Cooking: I can understand your confusion. For many years, it was assumed that alcohol "burned off" when heat was applied. However, a University of Idaho study done for the federal government's Human Nutrition Information Service concluded that a percentage of alcohol does remain in cooking, depending on the type of wine or spirits used and the amount of heat applied. As a precaution, your husband was wise to forbid your child to eat the cake and glaze laced with whiskey.

Of course, recovering alcoholics, people with certain allergies or people on certain medications should avoid any product "flavored" with alcohol - and that includes over-the-counter cough syrup or sherry flavoring, which might trigger a desire for alcohol. Read labels carefully because many more products contain alcohol than people are aware.

Dear Abby: Please tell "Inhibited and Embarrassed" not to feel either way because of her mastectomy scars. Rather than being apprehensive, all she need do is to tell the truth to any man in whom she is seriously interested. Hours, days or even weeks before any intimacy, she should tell him about the surgery she survived, and if he's the right kind of man, it won't make any difference.

This happened in my life. My sweetheart, a truly wonderful woman, had two major operations. The first one left a jagged scar across her belly.

The first night we were intimate, I kissed her scar tenderly and lovingly. She never undressed in the dark again!

- San Antonio Bob

Dear Abby: Congratulations to "Unplanned Parent in Iowa" who wrote to you recently about Planned Parenthood and the valuable services it provides.

I, too, am a success story because of the contraceptive counseling I received from the people at Planned Parenthood in college just before my wedding. They gave me the information I needed to plan a family - something my parents could not bring themselves to talk about, and something I could not afford to pay for from a private doctor at the time.

My husband and I now have three children BY CHOICE, and I owe much to the caring staff at that Planned Parenthood clinic. In the past, I volunteered some time at our local Planned Parenthood clinic, hoping to give something in return.

Working behind the scenes, I can also attest that the staff genuinely cares about women's health, and that they do provide option counseling when a woman comes to them with a crisis pregnancy.

I'm glad that they would have been there for me, had I ever been faced with a crisis pregnancy. They serve a vital role in our society.

- Val Tomsic, Planned and

Pro-Choice Parent, Naples, Fla.

Confidential to G.K. in Holdenville, Okla.: Wisdom does not automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles. It's true some wines improve with age, but only if the grapes were good in the first place.

Abby's family recipes are included in her Cookbooklet! Send a long (business-size), self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

1992 Universal Press Syndicate