Hard to believe that was only four days ago.
No one left before 2 a.m., which must have been a sign that they were enjoying themselves.
Madam Vandam and I did all that we could in advance this year, and we still wound up in a frenzy in the kitchen at crunch time.
The dinner table conversation ricocheted all over the place, from the loftiest metaphysics to the peculiar personality of a certain lifelike robotic security hound.
The number of diners wound up at eight (Mr. Nine came in from elsewhere around midnight for a late dessert), but I had a plan that would have expanded the table to accomomdate fourteen if various longshots showed up. There was enough food for that many and more.
I started making holiday dinners — Thanksgiving and Christmas — twenty-six years ago and while I’ve missed a few here and there it comes out to about forty-five total. The first one was Thanksgiving 1982. I had two guests. One was an ex-girlfriend and the other my friend the Mad Scientist, who was sleeping on a pull-out couch until dinner, got up as the turkey was carved, ate, and then went right back to bed. In those days I had a loft down in Chinatown in Manhattan, and that place could easily accommodate a hundred. I think, though, that the largest crowd was only around sixteen.
When the feasts shifted to Madam Vandam’s apartment we amazed guests with the huge dinners we could turn out of her tiny kitchen, which would get so hot that I would have to change into dry clothes before sitting down to eat.
Someday I’d like to have thirty or forty for dinner, making a special effort to bring back all the guests from the past who have faded out of our lives along the way.
The only truly unwelcome guest is my unfriendly doppelganger, Mr. Patience, who nonetheless always manages to pop in as the cooking hits a crescendo.