This article was written after a dinner for six -- John Ashbery, Mark Bibbins, Brian Chambers, Stacey Harwood, David Kermani, and me.
Here's a a brief excerpt:
In the time-honored male manner I elected to leave the planning entirely to my wife. Stacey loves spending time with John and David, and the prospect of planning a princely menu excited her. Still, it didn’t take long for an element of dread to surface. Although she loves to cook, and I think she’s exceptional, Stacey would describe herself as merely a “decent home cook,” meaning she can get a healthy simple dinner on the table mid-week in under an hour. But when it comes to entertaining, she is seriously out of practice. Ever since moving to New York City in 1998 she has curtailed her entertaining because of the limits imposed by a small apartment with a tiny kitchen and no dishwasher.
We live on the top floor of a six-floor walkup, eighty steps from ground level, far too many for John, now 78, to climb. So where could we hold the dinner? I thought of Mark Bibbins, who lives with his tech-whiz companion Brian in a spacious Chelsea apartment with a wraparound porch. Like Stacey, Mark loves to cook and is very good at it, and he, too, is very fond of John and David. Mark and Brian agreed to collaborate with us, and after a flurry of e-mails with all parties, we settled on a Sunday night in November, the 13th to be exact, and we were in business. That was two months from now. I entered the information in my calendar and did my best to forget about it, which was just as well: Stacey proved herself capable of obsessing enough for two.
Go to the Inquisitve Eater to find out how that evening worked out. -- DL
Photo credit: Stephanie Paterik, 2011.