More Tender Answers

June 10, 2010

I would ask you if your mom had a favorite meal, or something she really enjoyed eating that you enjoyed with her.

Mom’s greatest culinary triumph was corn on the cob. She had a secret source, and she’d put a big pot of water on to boil, call the farm, ask them to go out and pick her the smallest, whitest ears, and then rush home. She cooked the ears for just under two minutes, and they were superb. I’ve never had corn to rival hers, and I never eat an ear without thinking of her. (Mom called inferior ears, “horse corn,” which is what we mostly get these days. )

How many times did you get food poisoning growing up?

None. One of the great advantages of growing up on spoiled food is that you end up with an iron stomach. Last summer, when we were shooting in China for Adventures with Ruth, I was the only one in the crew who didn’t get food poisoning. And that includes our Chinese government minder, who actually went to the hospital.

Were your parents alive when the book hit the shelves? If they were, did you have to go into hiding?

I could not have written the book if my parents were still alive. And as anyone who’s read For You, Mom, Finally, knows, I felt guilty about the portrait I painted of my mother. It’s not that it wasn’t accurate; it’s just that I knew she would not have been thrilled to have the whole world know she was bipolar.

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