An interviewer once saw fit to lump Vladimir Nabokov with his illustrious contemporaries Jorge Luis Borges and Samuel Beckett. Nabokov replied that the comparison made him feel like a “thief between two Christs.” 

Well, I know myself (more or less), and I know I’m no Vladimir Nabokov. But his statement does describe how I felt when Food & Wine magazine invited me to attend a special 30th-anniversary dinner last year at the late Phillip Johnson’s iconic “glass house,” along with nine other “important innovators in the epicurean world.”

Reader support makes our work possible. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations TRIPLED!

The magazine’s September 2008 issue briefly recounts the dinner. Here are the attendees — I’m the awkwardly dressed guy white-knuckling the cocktail.

So how did I handle myself among the great and good of the U.S. food scene? Like any good thief-among-nine-Christs, I happily ate and imbibed all the delicious things put in front of me and pretended that I belonged.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.