Looking back on it, I can’t remember meals for the food that was eaten. The food may have been wonderful, but the meal seems to stick in the mind because of someone who was there, or because of the way it was eaten. I remember some steaks I ate with Thomas Wolfe; but here again it was the man and the way he ate his steak that made the occasion memorable.
It was back in 1938 in New York when Wolfe was at the height of his fame as a novelist. One night Max Perkins, the famous editor who will always be associated with Wolfe, had taken me to meet him. We had had some drinks at the Waldorf, and when we parted Wolfe said he would come and have lunch the next day at my apartment in the old Madison Square Hotel. We made it early, twelve o’clock, for my wife and I had tickets for a matinee, and Wolfe said he had an appointment after lunch.
My wife said to me. “Well, we’ll give him a steak. You can’t go wrong on a steak with a man like Wolfe,” and so we had some nice steaks.
MORLEY CALLAGHAN IS A WELL-KNOWN WRITER AND PANELIST. But Wolfe was not only a giant in size: he had a gigantic ilow of words when he was interested. Happily, or unhappily, he got interested, and between each bite about eight thousand words came pouring out of him. Not that he wasn't taking a bit of the steak with fied and settled down to our meal.
the theatre tickets by someone in the show who was bound to be wounded if we didn’t turn up. 64 Two hours had passed and Wolfe hadn't finished his steak. Finally, my wife said idly that she had to dash up town and would be right back, maybe in time to have some coffee with us. She returned at six. It is true that Wolfe and I had pushed our chairs back from the table, but he had taken three hours with his steak and as soon as he saw my wife he said, “That was a beautiful steak,” and he went right on talking. Of course, he had a lot to say to the world. At about seven he suddenly ask-
"Good heavens. I’m supposed to be at Edna Ferber’s place for dinner.” wife watched with some trepidation while he sank his knife into his steak and then tasted it. When his dark face lit up with a beautiful smile, we were relieved and satisI've often wondered if she served him a steak and how long he took to eat it. ★ fied and settled down to our meal. relish: he was. The only trouble was that he didn't seem to notice that the steak had got cold and time
social problem. We had been given
Wolfe arrived promptly at twelve, and we sat right down. Wolfe was a huge, powerful, granite-like man with enormous appetites, and my
I've often wondered if she served him a steak and how long he took to eat it.
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