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Dinner for Four

Kathy Werner - Columnist
Posted 3/25/21

Here's an interesting conversation starter: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or not, who would they be? What would you serve them for dinner? And, most importantly, what would …

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Dinner for Four

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Here's an interesting conversation starter: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or not, who would they be? What would you serve them for dinner? And, most importantly, what would you want to talk about with them?

I've had so many different thoughts about this. On one hand, I'd love to spend time with some relatives that have passed on—I'm thinking my husband and my mom and my dad—and have a chance to ask them about some family history that only they remember, and that I've long forgotten. I'd serve all their favorite dishes. For John, a big turkey dinner with all the fixings and loads of gravy. For my Mom and Dad, chicken barbecue. But I almost think it would be too sad to see them again and have to once again say goodbye.

It might be enlightening to have a visit with some famous women. I'd love to host a dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, and reporter Nellie Bly. We could discuss the struggles that each woman faced in her life, and how they overcame difficulty. For our meal, I think some homemade clam chowder and rolls would be pleasant and not get in the way of our conversation. We are there primarily to talk, after all.

If I were choosing some famous men, I'd pick Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Alexander Hamilton. These three all changed America in vastly different ways, but all saw the need to improve life for our citizens and to create a “more perfect union.” I'd want to discuss their thinking as they went forward with their transformations of our nation. We could have hot dogs and hamburgers for our repast, which I'm sure would delight FDR, surprise Honest Abe, and baffle A. Hamilton.

If I were choosing humorists, I'd love to sit down with Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, and James Thurber just for laughs. We would swap howlers and drink martinis.

Oh, I'd also love to be a party to a battle of wits among Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, and Noel Coward. Champagne and caviar for dinner accompanied by loads of delightful snark. Sheer heaven!

However, if I were limited to the living, I would choose Michelle Obama, Stacey Abrams, and Claire McCaskill and let them discuss their views on politics and the future of our country. We would dine on chicken Caesar salads as we sipped white wine. Oh, and I'll make lemon meringue pie for dessert.

From 1977 to 1981, the brilliant Steve Allen (who created The Tonight Show) hosted a wonderful show he created for PBS called “Meeting of Minds.” On it, Allen brought together famous people from history for wide-ranging discussions. On the very first episode, viewers got to see Teddy Roosevelt, St. Thomas Aquinas, Cleopatra, and Thomas Paine talk about religion, history and science. Some of these episodes are still available on YouTube. Great stuff.

So whom would you invite to dinner?

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