I relish a savory meal as well as anyone, preferring it to be eaten at dusk, still a whisper of light but fading while giving birth to the moon, rising up with new and distant life. You can have any combination of settings to make a memorable meal; rain, heat, companions, solitaire communion, rough carved table, dainty Parisian two-top, a blanket under the stars. And as I said, the food must be savory, keeping in mind, just being hot does not equate cuisine. My father had once said, “Even when you find yourself eating alone, respect yourself and use a napkin.” I never forgot that. Pouring out a bowlful of Cheerio’s will not satisfy the spirit, ever. Eating and dining are two different things. I’ve tried both. Eating leaves me feeling like I did something quick, but I don’t remember what, while I’m still searching for something essential. Having a traveling husband, I find myself eating alone often. Sometimes it is a bowl of popcorn, but it is the best popcorn I can make. I reach for the blue antique bowl, the color never to be made again, a robin’s egg blue only a little deeper, I rub it with garlic, pop the corn on the stove, butter and salt it, pick a rose patterned napkin, a glass of white wine and sit in the window, watching the moon rise. My usual solo dinners are simple but nurishing and always beautiful. I think beautiful is a spice. I have hard boiled an egg, cutting it lengthwise, spreading a little mustard in the yolk, adding fresh dill, salt and pepper, with roasted baby potatoes on the side, simple but delicious. If I’ve had a hard day and I know it’s me and Brian Williams for dinner, I will pick up a small chicken, organic, of course, rub it with butter or oil, liberally salt and pepper it, tucking herbs under the skin-sage, oregano, thyme or sometimes a little lavender, which I will put with minced garlic. I throw in whatever vegetables I have, turn the oven to hot, really hot, crust the skin, cover the bird and finish it slow. It always makes me feel like something good happened to me.