Eating Authors: Dave Walsh

No Comments » Written on May 25th, 2020 by
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Dave Walsh

Earlier this week my novel Buffalito Contingency was included in the 20BooksPack space opera book bundle. As the website for this deal was coming together, one of the other authors, Dave Walsh, noted that our respective book covers were positioned next to each other. In celebration of this fact, I invited him to appear here on EATING AUTHORS.

Dave’s bio describes him as having once been the world’s foremost kickboxing journalist. I’m not sure I really understand what that means, so I’m just going to move along. His science fiction novels reflect the same kind of problems and issues we all deal with, he just makes it all happen on distant worlds with lots of funky technology. Dave lives out west in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which means I should be hitting him up for some green chile bagels.

His latest novel is Shattered Lineage, the third book in the Trystero series. And yes, you can get the first novel in this series in the aforementioned book bundle.

LMS: Welcome, Dave. Surely you have a most memorable meal you can share.

DW: Most memorable meal is a tough question. In part because I want to talk about some actual awesome or interesting meals I’ve eaten in my life as opposed to those that I remember the most. Where do I draw the line on most memorable? The first date with my now-wife? The one where I proposed to her? The last time I ate with my dad? The time I ate a bagel with Thomas Pynchon and I had no idea it was most likely Thomas Pynchon and still, to this day, don’t know if it really was Thomas Pynchon or just an unkempt homeless man that saw me reading Against the Day in a coffee shop waiting for my girlfriend, asked me what I thought about the book and then sat down across from me at the table where we talked about Thomas Pynchon. My response was along the lines of: “Thomas Pynchon is sort of a dick.” Only months later did a friend casually bring up that Pynchon was reportedly in town months before and was walking around the university district asking people weird questions… or so everyone thought? That’s pretty embarrassing, right? Potentially meeting one of your heroes, mistaking him for a homeless man and saying he’s a dick. Oof.

Shattered Lineage

Those were all a big deal, or at least memorable. They also involved food that didn’t come from a microwave, so why am I being pulled toward a sad, rushed meal of microwave pancakes from the grocery store?

Because kids.

Way back in 2016, before there was a pandemic, and the world felt this strange, we had twin boys. Nobody really expects twins, they just sort of happen, even if I had that sneaking suspicion that if twins were to happen, they’d happen to us. They did. There’s a lot of information filtered down towards parents-to-be from people that mean well, or even have experience, that just bounces off of you because you aren’t there yet. I get it, kids change your life, yeah, it’s little lives in your hands and it’s difficult to do anything anymore. You hear that a lot when you’re expecting kids. When you’re expecting twins you get a lot of those looks. If you don’t know them, let me explain. The sort of long stare that’s part concern and part awe. People who don’t have twins cannot fathom what life with twins is like.

Cydonia Rising

I think as a new father there are a lot of built-in expectations, both external and internal, and they’re extremely hard to reconcile. Holding my twins for the first time while my wife was on an operating table was a truly surreal experience. That instant bond or even understanding of “these are my kids” just wasn’t there. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism to sort, to shut down a bit and just power through strange life moments, compartmentalize them and process them later. With my kids’ collective fourth birthday just about two months away now, their preschool shut down, no babysitter or family in sight and me spending 16 hours a day with them perhaps now is the time? Even writing this I’m ducked into my darkened office, hoping my clacky keyboard doesn’t draw them in where they’ll toss my books around, pluck at my guitars and demand to see my Star Wars Lego sets.

The first few nights of parenthood are brutal, no matter how prepared you think you are, how much sleep you get beforehand. Twins are, what I’m going to assume because I’ve never had a singleton (yeah, we call single kids singletons, that’s a twin parent thing), a lot harder. We ate food those first few nights, for sure, but I don’t remember any of it. What I do remember was the dawning on me that life would be really hard moving forward in one of my trips from the hospital back to our house to feed the dogs and try to take a short nap before returning to the hospital.

Terminus Cycle

The dogs were fine, and I was exhausted. Tired of the hospital Subway (fun fact: dads are not patients and thus do not get hospital meals, I did not understand that beforehand and my wife even works at that hospital) and just, well, tired in general, I took some old, frost-encrusted frozen pancakes out of the freezer. I was too exhausted and overwhelmed to actually make anything of substance, so I slapped down a bag on the counter and decided that was it, that was my meal. They come wrapped in sets of three, two packs conjoined by a perforated joint. Putting three of them on a plate to toss into the microwave, they looked paltry, and it dawned on me that I really hadn’t eaten much in the few days since we arrived at the hospital. So, I opened a second pack, making for six or two servings of these mostly nutrition-less, tasteless pucks that softened into a rubbery mush when nuked. Dabbed with some butter and drizzled with syrup from the fridge, they were mostly fine, if unspectacular.

I ate like a wild dog afraid it would be his last meal, standing at my kitchen counter with just one dim light on and my dogs circling around my feet like fuzzy buzzards waiting for either scraps or attention. I’d stand there a lot more over the following years, inhaling meals in between feedings, diaper changes, scraped knees and needing to break up fights. I’ve even written from that same position, more than I can even remember. Still, that one lousy meal was really the moment of transition, that moment when a chapter of my life (BC: Before Children) ended and another started.

I can laugh at this now, I think.

Thanks, Dave. I’m not sure which is the more disturbing image: partially defrosted, rubbery pancakes or dogs as fuzzy carrion birds. It’s a certainty though that the latter would devour the former.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

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Eating Authors: Gerald Brandt

No Comments » Written on May 18th, 2020 by
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Gerald Brandt

Life continues, in many ways the same as always but also curiously modified. Routine needs don’t care overly much about the rigors of a global pandemic, and so we’ve just had the a/c system replaced, replete with technicians and ourselves being masked through the entire process and practicing social distancing within the house so they’d feel safe as well.

I’m officially on maintenance now, taking assorted drugs, and doing labs. The most recent numbers continue to look good, so yay! Meanwhile, I continue to push myself, trying to rebuild my strength and stamina, and often as not overdoing it so that I’m a wreck and hurting the day after. But I’m making progress, and most days manage to get at least a mile’s walk in.

And speaking of walking, that’s my cue for a segue into this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, one of many writers who recently took part in an online home edition of Stroll With the Stars (organized by Stu Segal). Gerald Brandt has a massive, 200-year old oak tree in his back yard and a dog, Ajax, who’s part German Shepherd and part Great Dane, so really what else do you need? He’s also the author of the San Angeles cyberpunk trilogy and starting in January of next year will be releasing a new series, Quantum Empirica.

LMS: Welcome, Gerald. Let’s talk about memorable meals.

GB: I’ve had a lot of memorable meals in my lifetime, but the one that sticks out the most is the meal I had at a World Fantasy Convention many years ago.

I’d been going to WFC for a number of years by that point. I’d pitched novels in hotel lobbies, at parties, and even in a hotel room bathroom… but that’s a story for another time. At every convention, I’d sit down or stroll around the dealer’s room with Sheila Gilbert of DAW Books. We’d chat about whatever, sometimes grab a coffee, and obviously talk about what I was writing. I expected this WFC to be much the same.

The Courier

Sheila and I wandered up to the almost empty restaurant, grabbed a coffee, and chatted as we always did. Then she told me she wanted to buy my book. It was a wondrous time that led to the meal. An hour or so after that coffee, Sheila and I sat down to do her editorial revisions on the book. You know, it’s tough to find a quiet corner at a convention to do that. A couple of hours later, we were done, and Sheila invited me to the DAW dinner. I’d heard of them, of course, but never imagined. I’ve been to many a DAW dinner since, but this is still the best.

We all piled into taxis to take us to the restaurant, where we were told we’d have a tasting menu–a small selection of the regular menu that the chef could serve up in the right amount of time. To everyone’s surprise, they changed their mind and let us select a 5 course meal from anything on their regular menu. I wish I could remember the restaurant, but I was still too giddy to remember those kinds of details.

The Operative

I do remember the food. For starters, I selected a Heritage Beet Salad that was drizzled in a light dressing. The beets were thinly sliced and the multitude of colors on the plate made for a beautiful sight. And the taste! Wow. Feeling adventurous, I followed that up with deep fried tripe. I’d never eaten any type of offal before (or since for that matter), but this was truly a deep fried delight. The outer coating was crisp and well-spiced, and the tripe melted in your mouth. That was followed by three more dishes, each one seemingly better than the last.

Throughout the entire meal, I (surreptitiously) took pictures of every plate and texted them home to my wife and kids. In return, I got pictures of their meal, which turned out to be hotdogs and tater tots… with Dijon ketchup (or so I was told). Of course, my actions were discovered by Sheila, and I read out my wife’s responses to much laughter. At any rate, I left that meal so stuffed I could barely waddle back to the line of cabs.

What made the meal even more special was the feeling of family and camaraderie around the table. Even as a first timer, I could see that there was a relationship between the DAW editors and their authors that went beyond business. These were people that enjoyed each other’s company and were truly interested in the well-being of their authors. It was an evening to remember.

Thanks, Gerald. I’ll avoid the obvious offal puns, but seriously — and I say this as someone who is married to a chef — when it comes to tripe vs, tater tots, I think your family came out ahead.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

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Planning for November

No Comments » Written on May 13th, 2020 by
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20 Books Vegas

Between battling cancer, recovering from chemo, and oh yeah the whole COVID-19 craze, I haven’t traveled far from home this year and don’t expect that to change any time soon. No appearances, lectures, readings, or coneventions. Obviously, I’m not alone in this.

Lots of people have come up with creative solutions and stopgaps. I’ve participated in Stu Segals’ virtual Strolling with the Stars, both as the designated guest and as a viewer of many others. I spend at least three mornings each week sitting in on live interviews of luminaries within the indie publishing community. To no one’s surprise, various conventions have decided to go virtual (a big example being the Nebula Conference later this month), and even my monthly writers’ workshop group has shifted to meeting on Zoom.

At this point, I suspect the only event I’ll be physically attending this year is the annual 20BooksTo50K conference scheduled for November — assuming that in six more months the world will have stopped burning quite so much. It’s three very full days of brilliant presentations focused on the indie business side of writing — as opposed to other professional writing conferences I’ve attended where the emphasis is on craft — from marketing to managing cash flow, cover design to blurbs, pros and cons of KU vs. going wide, newsletter onboarding and general care & feeding of one’s subscribers, back lists and sell through, and on and on.

Flash Drive

Before those three days of presentations, there’ll be a day of industry professionals making themselves available for conversations and questions. Representatives from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Microsoft, Podium, Tantor, DreamWorks, Findaway Voices, Publisher’s Weekly, Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, Reedsy, BookFunnel, StoryOrigin, Cover Artists, and so many more. It’s going to be a crazy wonderful opportunity to make some serious connections (and have the following three days to expand on them).

But wait, there’s more. On the fifth day, there will be an Indie Book Fair. I’ve already reserved a table (well, half a table). I’ll be there with a good assortment of my titles, and while I’ll be only too happy to sell them, I’ll naturally sign anything that people bring in. These kinds of events can often be very “hit or miss” bur I’m expecting a huge response because of all the lost opportunities for fans not being able to travel to conventions this year.

Flash Drives

Which is why I wanted to do something special. Something different.

Which is why I arranged for some custom flash drives. What you’re seeing in the images on this page are basically credit card sized (52mm x 83mm) flip drives, the bit that plugs into the USB slot snaps up and unfolds from a hinge and you’re good to go.

I’ve had these made up by the fine folks at usbmemorydirect.com. They feature an image of the Amazing Conroy on one side and the logo of my publishing imprint, Paper Golem, on the other.

My plan is to load up the drives with copies of my books and give them away during the Indie Book Fair on the last day of the 20 Books Vegas conference. Mind you, I have a limited number of these flash drives, and when they’re gone that’s it — unless it’s a huge success, in which case I’ll make more for other conferences in 2021. And… now that I think about it, I’ll probably hold a couple in reserve as a giveaway for the folks on my mailing list.

And that’s my travel plans for the rest of 2020. I hope to see some of you in Las Vegas, and if you are coming out (I should mention the conference is at Sam’s Town) then I hope you’ll come by for a flash drive full of my fiction.

Eating Authors: Bard Constantine

1 Comment » Written on May 11th, 2020 by
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Bard Constantine

A few hours after this posts, I’ll be on my way to the hospital for my first “maintenance” visit. There’ll be some bloodwork and an quick injection and probably a few questions and explanations as we lay out what will become a new regimen of regular tests and follow-ups to ensure that the new chemo is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, and to be able to recognize the first sign of any returning cancer.

Which is to say my life is an endless adventure. I have to say that because it’s my segue into this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. Bard Constantine writes adventure stories. He refers to himself as a “neo-pulp” author, as demonstrated by his Havenworld universe, where stories jump traditional genre lines from dystopia to teen angst, cyberpunk to weird west. The common elements are of course action and adventure.

His most recent book is The Gunner Chronicles: Fire and Brimstone, and at first glance you might assume it’s a typical western with a ruthless gunslinger right out of central casting. But you’d be wrong. This gunman inhabits a post-apocalyptic west, which naturally means the book is also going to serve up mutants and cyborgs and… well, you get the picture. Adventure!

LMS: Welcome, Bard. Tell me about your most memorable meal.

BC: On my tenth anniversary, I took my wife to Vegas. It was something we’d wanted to do for years — not for gambling and party life, but to spoil ourselves rotten and take in the spectacle more than anything else. So we took the flight in the heat of June, arriving in the morning and resting until the evening because it was just that hot. We stayed at the Wynn, which was just what we were looking for to get that luxurious Vegas type of feel we were going for. I can say a lot about the fantastic buffet there, but that’s not the story. In fact, the meal in question wasn’t at the Wynn at all.

Title

It was at the Stratosphere.

Now renovated and renamed the Strat, the casino hotel wasn’t much to brag about when you walk in. It was an older joint, with all the tackiness you expect — lots of hawkers inside trying to con you into condo tours, bus tours, and the like. The main draw is the tower, where visitors can sit in the observation decks, eat a meal at the revolving Top of the World restaurant, and take in the entire city and everything around it for miles. And if you’re brave enough, you can even get on one of the insane rides built to terrorize you.

We were there for the view and some breakfast, so we dined in the Top of the World. Because I was in Vegas, I went for a lobster omelet and just for kicks, a gin martini to wash it down. Sure it was still morning, but I was in Vegas, baby. Looking back, it seems corny as hell, but it was all about being in the moment. I was in a restaurant with a revolving view of what looked like the entire state, celebrating ten years with the woman I loved, and I was in Las Vegas. Every time I think about it, I smile. And oh yeah: the omelet was to die for. That’s pretty much all you want from a dining experience, anyway.

Thanks, Bard. Eggs, lobster, and gin. The breakfast of champions. At least in Las Vegas. I’m sure your server didn’t even blink.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

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Eating Authors: Nibedita Sen (Astounding Award nominee)

No Comments » Written on May 4th, 2020 by
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Nibedita Sen

May has brought better weather and increased stamina. These have combined to allow me to take longer walks (up to a mile now) which in turn has created opportunities for self-hypnosis as well as quality time with my dog. The healing continues. Life is good.

May also brings the first of what I hope will be several of this year’s Astounding Award finalists to this blog. Of the six nominees, Sam Hawke and Jenn Lyons have previously shared meals. I’m still hoping to hear from R.F. Kuang, Tasha Suri, and Emily Tesh. Meanwhile, this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest is Nibedita Sen.

Nibedita is no stranger to food, ranking its importance with anime in her life. She writes short fiction, as well as co-edits Glittership, a queer, SF/F fiction podcast. All in all, she’s having a pretty good year, racking up not just the Astounding nomination, but Nebula and Hugo noms as well.

LMS: Welcome, Nibedita. What’s your most memorable meal?

NS: As a lover of food, and immigrant from a culture where food is key to identity and affection — and also as a writer who works food into pretty much everything she writes — it’s very hard to choose a favorite meal from all the good ones I’ve had! Here’s a pretty special one, though.

GlitterShip Year Two

I moved to the USA for grad school in 2015. This meant going from Calcutta to the Midwest, so the culture shock was, as you can imagine, quite extreme — particularly when it came to food. Or flavoring. Or the lack thereof. I’d also never lived away from home before, and never really had to cook for myself, since my mother and grandmother were both excellent cooks who handled keeping the household fed. Stuck in a tiny college town in Southern Illinois, I learned real fast to appreciate how a dish could be a culinary jewelry box of memory and identity. The first time I made shorshe chingri — prawns in mustard-seed paste — I cried at the smell, and then breathed it in too deep, which made the mustard sting my eyes and sinuses, which only made me cry more.

When I next got to visit home in the summer of 2016, I’d been away for a year, during which I’d sorely missed both my family and the food I grew up with. My mother, anticipating this, had prepared a spread of several traditional Bengali delicacies that she knew were my favourites. Two in particular. Kosha mangsho, which is goat meat cooked to fall-off-the-bone tenderness in rich, dark, oily gravy. And ilish macch bhaja, thin fillets of hilsa fish fried crisply in mustard oil and green chilis, along with their eggs and internal organs, the latter of which are cooked down to a blackened consistency bursting with umami bitterness. Both dishes were served over hot, plain white rice with salt on the side. I like to write about food, but I don’t think I can do justice to that meal, save to say that it tasted of love — and of home, and of memory, and my city, and my people.

Thanks, Nibedita. I am reminded that scientists working on teleportation are going about it all wrong. The ability of food to transport us home should be the first line of research. Even if it’s only a one-way trip, it will always be delicious.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Beverly L. Anderson

No Comments » Written on April 27th, 2020 by
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Beverly L. Anderson

Back when I was in grad school I studied winemaking. This struck my friends as odd because I don’t drink alcohol. But the wine was just a byproduct. The real purpose was for me to try and acquire patience. And it worked. I learned to appreciate that some things take time. That’s true of wine, it was true of research, and I find it’s true of writing. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to remember this important lesson when it comes to my own health.

This past week I’ve been pushing myself too hard. And while I have made incredible strides in my recovery from my bone marrow transplant, the one main area where I am still far from normal is my physical stamina. Naturally, I have been over-doing things, walking more than I should, even putting time in on the elliptical. And while it may ultimately prove to make me stronger sooner, it’s also been leaving me a creaky old man who looks like he’s been hit by a bus. Ooops.

None of which has anything to do with today’s EATING AUTHORS post, but I thought you’d want to know. Now then, let’s talk about this week’s guest, Beverly L. Anderson.

Beverly is probably best known for her Chains of Fate series, erotica with strong BDSM themes. She’s since branched out into the fantastic. Last January she branched out with Dark and the Sword, Book One of a proposed dark fantasy series, Legacy of the Phoenix. Which, when you consider her most memorable meal, makes a lot of sense.

LMS: Welcome, Beverly. What stands out as your most memorable meal?

BLA: I have to say the most memorable meal I’ve ever had was with my Dungeons and Dragons group. We went online and planned the entire thing based on old recipes that we found from medieval times or as close to them as we could get.

Dark and the Sword

We then had “dinner” in our game world while we acted out our characters attending this meal. It was a beautiful blend of food, friends, and fun, and I have to say I can’t think of something that sticks out in my memory more. When I think back on it, it always brings a smile to my face. There is nothing that can tarnish such a memory, and though time may erode the details, it will always be precious to me.

My D&D group fed my love of fantasy, world building, character building, and plot driven characters. I often wrote so much detail on my characters that our Dungeon Master would give me extra experience and I ended up ahead of the group. It was never dull, and everything we did will forever be a basis for my love of the worlds of fantasy. My fantasy writing echoes those days during late night game sessions, and even during that amazing and creative dinner. It is something that can never be recreated, and something that I will always remember.

Thanks, Beverly. It’s been decades since I played D&D — I was old school, the original three paper volumes. I wish we’d thought to have in-character meals. But then again, most of us were too young to drive and didn’t know how to cook, so it’s probably just as well.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: Melissa J. Lytton

No Comments » Written on April 20th, 2020 by
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Melissa J. Lytton

April is no longer the cruelest month. Okay, sure, the weather (at least around here) has been crazy, with temperatures all over the place. But a week ago I heard back from my new oncologist with the results of blood work and biopsy from the end of March showing the efficacy of my bone marrow transplant could not be better. Short version: there’s no sign of bone termites in my blood! This means I move on to a maintenance regimen which will involve lower doses of Revlimid (lower relative to last fall’s chemo cycle), as well as ongoing vigilance in the form of regular blood tests and an annual bone marrow biopsy. Multiple myeloma is incurable (at least at present). My cancer will return some day. For now though, I’ve gotten a reset, and the chemo will help keep it at bay, and presumably slow its growth when it does come back.

None of which has much to do with EATING AUTHORS, other than to provide hope that I’ll be around to keep producing this blog for a good while. So, as we project into the future, let me segue into the past to tell you about this week’s guest, Melissa J. Lytton.

I first encountered Melissa nine years ago. They was doing layout and design for Hadley Rille Books, and Eric Reynolds had tasked her with my second novel, Buffalito Contingency. Email flew back and forth. We were working with some great artwork from Rachael M. Mayo, and Melissa applied her own skill and talent to lift it even higher. The end result was wonderful.

Melissa has her roots in Kansas, having done her undergrad work at K.U., where they were named the university’s first “Science Fiction Scholar” and took home the Edgar Wolfe Award in Fiction. They followed that up with an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and has since carved her own niche within speculative fiction addressing what they refers to as the realities of recovery (be it from addiction, trauma, or coping with disability), and all from a feminist slant. Yeah, this is not your typical, watered down stories of dragons or space ships, but rather a return to the use of the genre to make readers think.

LMS: Welcome, Melissa. Let’s talk about your most memorable meal.

MJL: Minot, North Dakota isn’t on most people’s radar, but it is known for a few things – a military base, a devastating flood, and a Wild West-style oil boom in the 2010s. The boom transformed the tiny college town into a competitive and cramped city, attracting thousands of people desperate to dig their way out of debt. People like my partner and I, whose bank accounts had slowly been bleeding out as we worked dead-end jobs in Kansas City. We leapt at the opportunity offered to us and struggled with the 14-hour workdays and San Francisco-esque rent hikes later.

During those four years of overwork, isolation, and negative-50-degree windchill, the meal that comforted me most was a bowl of hot Thai curry from Baan Rao. It was a major upgrade from the beans and rice I’d subsisted on prior to the move, but even compared to other curries, it was something special. It balanced its heat and tang without heavy amounts of sugar, something I’ve been hard-pressed to find in other restaurants, and the tofu was always perfectly cooked. My two go-to varieties were the Massaman and the red curries.

Echoes of a Dream

The Massaman was filling fare – chunky potatoes, carrots, and onions, swimming in a thick, spicy stew of peanuts and coconut milk. It was the perfect dinner the night the wind blew hard enough to slam a fast food sign onto the adjacent car dealership lot, Wendy’s smiling face pancaking several cars in the bitter cold.

The red was lighter, with basil, bamboo shoots, and bell peppers soaking in a thinner, but still satisfyingly rich, coconut broth. It made my nose run and burned out every tightness in my throat, be it from illness or rough emotion. Even in the middle of our hottest summer, I never turned down the chance for a bowl.

But it wasn’t just the food that made Baan Rao so special to my partner and I. As with most things, it was the people. We watched their business and family grow, cheered on as their delivery driver made his way through college, and marked every birthday and milestone with their warm-your-soul food. I celebrated my first university teaching position and the publication of my first book in that restaurant. When we missed a week due to travel, they asked after us. When we moved back to Kansas City, we said goodbye.

I miss that family-owned kindness just as much as I miss the curry. Especially now, when I’m following shelter-at-home orders and acclimating to a new course of treatment for a chronic illness, I crave human connection just as much as I crave good food. I daydream about chatting with my delivery driver and wrap myself in the sense-memory of a cleansing bowl of red curry, made just for me. Until that can be my reality again, I channel my anxieties into cooking new and comforting foods for the people I love.

After all, I know how much a good meal can mean during a tough time.

Thanks, Melissa. I miss that connection with food and place. The simple comfort of being a “regular,” having your usual table, and coming to know the owners and staff as real people and not just food service automatons. It’s waiting for us though, once we get past the current sheltering in place cycle. And having had it before, I know we can regain it or rebuild it as we go forward.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

Want to never miss an installment of EATING AUTHORS?
Click this link and sign up for a weekly email to bring you here as soon as they post.

#SFWApro

Eating Authors: E. G. Bateman

No Comments » Written on April 13th, 2020 by
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Elaine Bateman

I see it every year in social media, and it fills me with delight every time. It’s a simple image of two chocolate bunnies. One has a bite out of its tail and the other has had its ears eaten. The first bunny says, “my butt hurts” and the other replies “what? I can’t hear you.”

Such simple pleasures take on more meaning of late, when people are under so much stress and yet still celebrating and observing major holidays. I hope you’ve managed to find such joy as is available. It’s there if you look. And I say this as someone who has been medically sequestered since early February (longer if you count the 15 days in hospital that preceded it), and even amidst all the cancer complications I still consider myself blessed.

And sometimes too, there is joy in doing the things you always do, which for me includes this blog. The list of Hugo finalists has come out and I’ve reached out to this year’s Astounding Award nominees (well, not, as it happens, the two who have already appeared here). I hope they’ll respond soon. But that’s somewhere in the future. Here and now, let me introduce you to this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, E. G. Bateman.

I first came to know Elaine from her presence on the LMBPN Slack channel, where she’s witty and wry and irreverent. Which is to say, she’s a hoot and a half. She’s also the author of the Faders trilogy. And she has a new book coming out on Wednesday, Legacy of the Shadow’s Blood, the first book of a new series co-authored with Michael Anderle.

Elaine lives in England and makes no apologies with regard to her fondness for chocolate. I wonder if she acquired any chocolate bunnies this past weekend and, if so, which part she bit into first.

LMS: Welcome, Elaine. What stands out as your most memorable meal?

EGB: Five years ago, my mum retired at 75 and planned a holiday she’d always wanted to take: A tour of Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. Her health wasn’t great so she asked me to join her on the adventure. The tour included a sunset horse-ride, followed by dinner at the ranch.

We were collected from Caesar’s Palace and driven out to the ranch. They somehow got my arthritic, 75-year-old mother and her short-fat daughter onto horses, and we rode out for 90 minutes through the beautiful Red Rock Canyon.

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Mum’s horse might have had a urinary tract infection because it peed fairly consistently throughout the ride. I’m not a horsey person but my horse and I came to an agreement whereby it would allow me to remain seated if I didn’t impose my Western imperialistic ways upon it, and just let it go wherever it wanted to. 90 minutes later, we were back at the ranch in one piece.

Mother and I supported each other and shared hip-related horror stories from the stable to the outdoor eating area. We filled our plates and staggered to a table. We enjoyed buttered corn-on-the-cob, giant baked potatoes and Jurassic-sized steaks. We chatted to our friends from the tour group, surrounded by walls peppered with tiny lights.

We moved from the chairs, out to a fire pit under the stars. We roasted marshmallows, made s’mores, and listened while two old cowboys played the guitar and sang country songs. One of them looked like John Wayne!

My mum’s no longer with us, but that meal, the horse ride and singing along under the stars in the Nevada desert, remain my fondest memory of her.

Thanks, Elaine. Now, thanks to you, I think I have a rule for a spelling confusion that has always plagued me: desert/desserts. The answer is clearly, the s’mores, the merrier!

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

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