At 5:58 on a warm and sunny spring evening in North Quincy, Mass., Frank Sullivan is stirring a pot of homemade jambalaya on the stove with a smile on his face. "I love cooking," he says. "It's a gift--and a curse--from my father. He said you can never make enough food for a party."

Frank's wife, Maribeth Sayers, is taking a breather at the kitchen table after setting out an array of chips, dip and vegetables. Mindful of the guests, she and Frank have stocked the adjoining enclosed porch with coolers of beers, their longnecks poking through the ice.

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