I always love to read those "man-on-the-street" columns in my local newspaper. It seems that frivolous questions rather than weighty ones inspire far livelier and intriguing responses. In the same spirit, I collar friends, relatives, and total strangers to ask them inconsequential questions on culinary matters.

Q: What was your first oyster encounter?

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Anne L: I was a teenager and we were on the boat of some of my parents friends in Puget Sound. We got the oysters straight out of the water. This friend of my parents said to imagine I was biting into a fresh peach. It was slimy and disgusting. Not at all like a fresh peach! I think I spit it overboard.

Marilyn: I was twenty years old in Paris - a real innocent abroad. A friend served oysters at dinner. I had never even seen an oyster before. When I was told they were raw, I was horrified and I yelped, "Does that mean they're still alive?" I could only eat one. I thought it was disgusting and kind of thrilling.