A friend asked me the other day to think about who I would invite if I could have any ten people to dinner, regardless of time in history, gender, profession, etc. Also, where I would have this event, what would be topics for discussion and what food would be served.
Well, of course, I immediately concentrated on the food angle, but then I realized that I’d have to know who would be in attendance before I could figure out what they all could eat.
Surprisingly, I had to think about this for a long time. There are so many people from the history of the world that I would love to meet that it was hard to narrow it down to ten. But I did. I thought this would be a fun question to pose to you since mine were mostly different from my friend’s, with the exception of two.
So here’s my list of “guests:”
#1…Napoleon …charismatic military genius (well, genius at least for awhile). As a history buff, I’ve always had a terrific fascination with him. I hoped he’d ask if he could have a “plus one” and bring along Josephine, if only so I could ogle her jewelry.
#2…Leonardo Da Vinci …who was a scientist, inventor, mathematician as well as an artist…and he was dyslexic! I personally prefer Michelangelo’s artistic abilities to Da Vinci’s but wouldn’t reject a “gift” of art from either one. This was a tough call on my part because having been under, through and on top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, I am always in awe of how Michelangelo managed to build that without our modern day heavy equipment. And the Sistine Chapel is so amazing.
#3…Gloria Steinem …one of the “figureheads” of the women’s movement. She probably wasn’t the true “brains” behind it but she was so visible women heard what she said and reacted. She and others like her put a “crack” in the glass ceiling.
#4…The Wright Brothers …they changed the face of travel and trade dramatically!!!
#5…Jesus …no explanation necessary, I think.
#6…Claude Monet …I would invite him so he would introduce me to his other Impressionist friends…I love Impressionism; that and Renaissance art are my two very favorite schools. I also do like the Dutch Masters but I think Rubens and Rembrandt would be too dour to have at dinner. Monet looks like a partier to me.
#7…FDR …he took the country out of the depths of depression and guided it through some of its most tumultuous years. Again, if he asked to bring along Eleanor or one of his war buddies like General Patton, Ike or Winston Churchill, bonus! We could squeeze in an extra chair or two.
#8…Madame Curie …her discoveries added to the longevity of human beings and it was a challenge for her just being a woman scientist in a field overwhelmingly dominated by men.
#9…Robin Williams …he is a comedic genius and would certainly add to the liveliness of the conversation. I’d like to see him chatting with DaVinci and FDR. I can only imagine what he would say to Josephine and no doubt he’d be able to do a whole monologue mimicking the Wright Brothers’ initial conversations about flight. I laugh just thinking about it.
#10…Elizabeth I … the first strong woman monarch. Wouldn’t I love to see Bess and Glo chatting away!
Topics of discussion? A round table with all of them making a seven minute presentation on their contributions to mankind. Afterwards, there would be time for questioning each other.
Place for the dinner? Terrace in the Sky, 16th floor of Butler Hall at Columbia University. Convenient to get to from all parts of the world because of three major airports in NYC, trains, boats, etc. as well as it being a place noted for high academics. I thought about making it Chicago or London but wasn’t sure what a good spot would be in either and Chicago can be tricky to get to as well.
What to serve?
First course, fresh fruit with goat cheese on flat bread (something they all have probably eaten at one time or another.)
Second Course, pasta with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and spiced with some finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper (I’m Italian, you simply must have pasta.)
Third course, Grilled Salmon with asparagus and Israeli couscous
Dessert, Cheesecake. I make a fantastic cheesecake and if they haven’t had it it will be a huge treat and if they have? who doesn’t like cheesecake???
So, who would YOU invite?