8) Ten things I learned Saturday night.

1. January is a fine time for an impromptu dinner party.

2. It’s crazy fun to surprise your guests with HIS and HER cocktails from the Daniel Boulud book you got for Christmas.

3. Just because the menu is “rustic” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat in the dining room.

4. (You may realize you’ve reached the age where you actually enjoy eating in the dining room. Don’t panic when this happens.)

5. Go ahead. Burn the candles.

6. And use your great-grandmother’s silver candelabra.

7. Ina Garten’s Cheddar Corn Chowder makes a fine main course.

8. There may be a glorious moment when you just sit back and take in the laughter of your friends. Linger here a while; no one will notice.

9. Accept the offering of help clearing the table.

10. But don’t start washing just yet. Join everyone back in the dining room instead; the very best stories come just after dessert.

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