07/18/2012 11:09 am ET Updated Sep 17, 2012

Want a Great Meal? Try One of These 3 Combinations for 'Perfection'

Flickr: Dinner Series

Even though I don't like to cook, and I'm no foodie, I nevertheless enjoy the food writing of M.F.K. Fisher. Several of her classic books are collected in The Art of Eating, which includes the essay "From A to Z: The Perfect Dinner," from An Alphabet for Gourmets.

In it, Fisher outlines three combinations of people that can reach "gastronomical perfection" -- but note, for clarity (and humorous effect), I've put them in the form of a numbered list, which is not her style.

Fisher writes that the perfect dinner can be attained with...

  1. "one person dining alone, usually upon a couch or a hill side"
  2. "two people, of no matter what sex or age, dining in a good restaurant"
  3. "six people, of no matter what sex or age, dining in a good home ... a good combination would be one married couple, for warm composure; one less firmly established, to add a note of investigation to the talk; and two strangers of either sex, upon whom the better-acquainted diners could sharpen their questioning wits."

I love the fact that M.F.K. Fisher sings the praises of eating alone on a couch. Am I the only one who loves that kind of meal? I like eating alone on a hill side, too, but that's a bit harder to pull off.

What's your favorite combination for "gastronomical perfection"?

I'm very excited: the sample chapter of Happier at Home is available now. It's from the chapter about "Time." Happy reading! If you love what you see so much that you want to pre-order, here's the link.

For more by Gretchen Rubin, click here.

For more on happiness, click here.