Every few months I cook for a group of friends. I like to cook, but my dinners are more a series of ill-timed surprises than cohesive meals. I serve food at random intervals. A main dish may be served in 20 minutes; salad, 30 minutes later; bread, after everyone finishes eating; side dishes, abandoned in the oven for hours, never make an appearance. However, with enough wine, everything generally works out in the end.