I had just come out of a long-term relationship, at the age of 32, one I thought would lead to marriage but didn’t. Living alone for the first time in years was hard, and I could only afford to rent a one-room log cabin a good, long way from any paved road. The isolated cabin was an ideal place to launch my writing career—what else was there to do?—but I feared it was a less-than-ideal place for a single woman hoping to make and keep friends and perhaps even meet a life partner.

To prove myself wrong, to show that my social life could thrive while I lived alone in the middle of wilderness, I decided to throw a dinner party. It would not be a potluck, which would have more closely matched the needs of my pocketbook. Instead, I would throw a formal dinner party, for which I would confidently provide all the meal’s courses as a testament to the rightness of the decision I’d made to leave the security of a relationship and strike out on my own.

I invited four people (only four would fit my space) whose lifestyles were similar to what I hoped for myself: a poet, a songwriter, a bluegrass musician, and a screenwriter. Then I set about preparing the meal, which included a complex salmon chowder, wine, and a homemade pie. In my memory, the food is less vivid than the transformation of my tiny room. I stacked my computer, books, and reference manuals in one corner and moved my long desk into the center of the room, draping it with the only tablecloth I had—an off-white sheet. A florist friend, who supplied fresh flowers to the homes of many wealthy and famous people in the area, had that morning offered me a full bouquet of dusty pink roses for my table centerpiece. Although I protested her generous gift, she assured me that they were about to go bad. “They probably won’t last even a few days,” she said.

The flowers were the needed touch. As the guests arrived and the sun sank behind the mountains, my tiny, lonely space was transformed into an elegant dining room filled with rich conversation and heartfelt laughter, offset by the exquisite candlelit beauty of a rose bouquet that lasted for more than two weeks.

To read about other memorable meals from the Delicious Living community of readers, turn to our story, “My Most Memorable Meals.” We hope you enjoy this issue. Please send us your thoughts through a letter or e-mail.

Jean Weiss

Writing “Ease Inflammation” was especially helpful to Christine Loomis because one of her children has type 1 diabetes. “Through my research, I realized that food can and does relieve inflammation—you don’t always have to reach for ibuprofen,” says Loomis, the author of Fodor’s Around Denver with Kids (Fodor’s, 2002).

Recipe developer Karin Lazarus had fun experimenting with healthy ingredients for “Ease Inflammation.” “:I try to make food a bit less mysterious and make the unusual become familiar,” Lazarus explains. “Plus, when I’m developing recipes, it means I will have a house full of company. Tasters are readily available.”

Vonalda Utterback, CN, wrote “It’s a Match” on sensible supplement combinations, and the quiz “Essentially Yours: EFAs” on essential fatty acids. “Although supplements should never take the place of a healthy diet, they are vital to help boost nutrition based on individual needs,” says the Longmont, Colorado-based writer and editor.