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.

Mother's Day

Go To Word of Mouth Archive

Q: What's your favorite dish that your mom made when you were a kid?

Kerry: We had a plum tree in our back yard. When it was plum season we kids would pick them all and give them to my mom. She would make us individual plum tarts. We thought that was so cool because it wasn't just one big pie; we each got our very own. I do the same thing with my kids now, except I have to get my plums at the supermarket.

Francesca: I really liked this thing mom made called Hervida. (Francesca's mom was from Venezuela.) It was like a chicken stew with vegetables in it. She would put hot vinegar in as a condiment. I make Hervida on occasion. But I can't quite get it the way she made it.

Q: What did your mom make that you vowed never to eat again once you left home?

Kerry: My mother went through a phase where she made us eat liver and onions once a month. She thought we were anemic because we were so skinny. It was awful. Luckily, she gave that up after awhile. I've never had liver and onions since.

Francesca: Beef patties cooked until they were bone-dry like beef jerky. My husband called them "rock burgers". She always served them with frozen peas and rice.