Life Advice



Ask Amy: Germ risks also contaminate relationships

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Every year during this time I step away from my column to work on other creative projects. I hope you enjoy these “Best Of” Q&A from 10 years ago. Today’s topic is: “Germ Donors!”

I also invite readers to subscribe to my weekly “Asking Amy” newsletter, at, where I post advice, as well as commentary about what I’m reading, watching, and listening to.

I’ll be back with fresh Q&A next week.

Dear Amy: I've been happily married for two years. I am grateful for my in-laws’ kindness and enjoy their company. The problem is my mother-in-law's cooking. She does not wash her hands!

I have caught her putting her fingers in food, licking her fingers and putting her fingers back in the same dish.

During our Christmas visit, she and I prepared leftovers. She "re-mashed" the potatoes with her bare hands, without ever washing her hands!


My husband and I are disgusted.

Is there any way to bring this to her attention without hurting her feelings?

I do not want to cause conflict, but I am mortified to think of the germs in the food she serves us.

– Grossed Out


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