What do we get out of cooking for friends? More than you think, say a recent crop of books on the art of dining in together. Here, tips and recipes

NOBODY invites chefs to dinner. Or so I was told by Michele Savoia, chef of Dish Bar and Osteria, a beloved Pittsburgh restaurant that closed for an indefinite sabbatical last April. Reviewed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as “a dream, an escape, a party,” Dish had been my neighborhood spot for years. I missed seeing Michele and his wife and business partner, Cindy Savoia. So I invited them to dinner at my house. I am not going to freak out, I told myself.

The dinner party happens to be a hot topic right now. A number of...



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