M.F.K Fisher, who I’m slowly getting back into after years of neglect, encapsulates one of my great life ambitions in her Alphabet for Gourmets, which is excerpted in its entirety at Gourmet.com. The first section: A is For Dining Alone. I resolved to establish myself as a well-behaved female at one or two good restaurants where I could dine alone at a pleasant table with adequate attentions rather than be pushed into a corner and given a raw or over-weary waiter simply because I might become a nuisance. To my credit I manage to carry this resolution out, at least to the point where two headwaiters accepted me: they knew I tipped well, they knew I wanted simple but excellent menus, and, above all, they knew that I could not only order but also drink, all by myself, an apértif and a small bottle of wine or a mug of ale without turning into a potentially maudlin pickup for The Gentleman at the Bar. Ultimately, she gives it up and just learns to cook for one. But I far prefer the image of her reading Tropic of Cancer over a white tablecloth, coming to the conclusion that waiters “are so much nicer than people!” Oh, misanthropic gluttony…

M.F.K Fisher, who I’m slowly getting back into after years of neglect, encapsulates one of my great life ambitions in her Alphabet for Gourmets, which is excerpted in its entirety at Gourmet.com. The first section: A is For Dining Alone.

I resolved to establish myself as a well-behaved female at one or two good restaurants where I could dine alone at a pleasant table with adequate attentions rather than be pushed into a corner and given a raw or over-weary waiter simply because I might become a nuisance. To my credit I manage to carry this resolution out, at least to the point where two headwaiters accepted me: they knew I tipped well, they knew I wanted simple but excellent menus, and, above all, they knew that I could not only order but also drink, all by myself, an apértif and a small bottle of wine or a mug of ale without turning into a potentially maudlin pickup for The Gentleman at the Bar.

Ultimately, she gives it up and just learns to cook for one. But I far prefer the image of her reading Tropic of Cancer over a white tablecloth, coming to the conclusion that waiters “are so much nicer than people!” Oh, misanthropic gluttony…