I wish I’d had a copy of Colleen Rush’s new book, The Mere Mortal’s Guide to Fine Dining, about ten years ago. She pitches it like this: “The book is not a prissy etiquette guide that makes you feel like a clod for not knowing where to put your napkin when you leave the table (for the record: loosely gathered, to the left of your plate–not in your chair). It does cover basic table manners, but the book is also about the food–like understanding the difference between a porterhouse and a T-bone and where other cuts of steak come from on the cow. And what dry-aged really means. Or how to order a cheap bottle of wine without looking cheap to everyone at the table. It even covers how to say “tastes like chicken” in five languages.”

Come to think of it, I could use one now, especially after hearing her advice on how to remove olive pits and gristle from your mouth. A local, Rush will be signing the book this Sunday, December 17, at the Lake Claremont Press trunk show at the Laughing Iguana, 1247 S. Wabash, from noon to 5 pm; call 773-728-1600 if you want more info.