One by one, the dishes took their places on makeshift buffet areas: an enclosed radiator and a low storage cabinet covered with butcher paper. Ratio-wise, the number of foods to try and mouths to feed was almost even. But Dunn wasn't worried about excessive amounts of food leading to many leftovers or stomachaches.
"This is more about tasting all the different things than getting disgustingly full," he said.
The key is to take small portions of everything and then go back for what you like the most, according to Sue Davis, a friend who has been at all four Fakesgivings.
That seemed to be the approach of all the guests, who tucked in after Dunn and Patton quickly ran down the roster of what they had made.
This year's magazine recipes came from eight sources: Fine Cooking, Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Food & Wine, Cook's Illustrated, Bon Appetit, Food Network Magazine and Saveur. Patton and Dunn decided on their menu by shuffling recipe-name index cards.
"This is not how I would pick a menu" for most other occasions, Patton said.
The selections met with his mother's approval nonetheless. "In some ways, I think the dishes are more compatible than they have been in previous years," Lewis said.
"There's not a throwaway this year," said Drew Porterfield, who has been at the couple's Fakesgiving three times. "They're all pretty good."
Patton's sister wasn't surprised to hear how many people liked the sweet potatoes with bourbon and maple from Bon Appetit. She said she knew it was going to be good as soon as she started putting together its coffee-based glaze. She took particular pride, because it was the first time she got to be in charge of a dish from beginning to end.