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 kind of kitchen gadgets are on your holiday wish list?

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Laura: I want a mandoline and an electric knife sharpener. But what I'd really, really like to have is a personal chef.