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 will be your last meal of the century?

Go To Word of Mouth Archive

Nikki: We'll be having what we have every New Year's Eve: cracked crab, Caesar salad, and champagne. This is our traditional New Years dinner. It's delicious. It's fun. It's casual. You don't have to spend much time making it. And it's festive. You get to eat with your hands and get all messy. We look forward to it all year. It's a great way to end the year…or the century. Food just doesn't get any better than this.

These next two responses to my question were e-mailed to me.

Steve Rraichlen (author of The Barbecue!Bible): Petrossian beluga caviar with my wife's homemade toast points (we don't much care for blinis)…. Homemade fettuccini with cream sauce and shaved white truffles….Florida stone crabs with mustard sauce….Micro green salad with hazelnuts and pears….Chocolate soufflé with vanilla crème anglaise….We'll have vodka with the caviar and champagne with the rest of the meal. We'll probably have a split of sauternes for dessert. By the way, it will just be the two of us. We'll stroll down to the local park to watch the fireworks and probably be asleep by midnight!

Joanie and Peter: We've been trying to plan our last meal of the century with our"senior citizen" friends Everett and Rex and have finally settled on this. Appetizers: a goat cheese, roasted garlic spread on baguette rounds and Belgian endive with crab served with a Sauvignon Blanc wine…. First course: warm Yukon gold potatoes with mussels, Nicoise olives and arugula, Dijon mustard dressing. We will then adjourn to Everett's and Rex's for vintage French champagne we have been saving for this particular celebration and whatever else their cellar may yield.