Eating Authors: A. C. Wise

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A. C. Wise

Last week was crazy. It was a medical appointment jamboree involving major tests, injections and dyes, dental cleanings, some minor outpatient surgery, much more serious surgical consults, and I’m pretty sure we more than hit the insurance policy’s stupidly high deductible. Hey, have I mentioned lately that I have a Patreon page to help defray my monthly healthcare costs?

Anyway, I am desperately hoping that this week is calmer (or at least more focused) and will involve less time spent around doctors and more time spent with authors. Galactic Philadelphia is happening tomorrow, and if you’re able I hope you’ll stop by. Moreover, that seems like a good segue to introduce A. C. Wise, this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest who, though born and raised in Montreal, now makes her home here in Philadelphia.

It’s likely you already know her for her short stories, many of which have been collected in The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves The World Again and The Kissing Booth Girl & Other Stories, or for her column “Women to Read” that ran from 2013 to 2016 at the now defunct SF Signal. Whether crafting stories or essays, she writes smart.

Her newest fiction is the novella, Catfish Lullaby, which can be pre-ordered now and will be available in three weeks.

LMS: Welcome, A.C. If you had to pick your most memorable meal, what would it be?

ACW: Picking my most memorable meal isn’t easy; I’m spoiled for choice. Cooking is my dad’s passion. When he was eighteen, his mother convinced him to take a cooking class with her because she didn’t want to go into the city alone. As far as I know, my grandmother dropped the class after the first one, but my dad was hooked. Over the years I’ve been a willing guinea pig as he tries to perfect various dishes, and I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a plethora of truly delicious meals. That’s not even taking into account that my mom is also an excellent cook, as are many of my friends, or that I myself enjoy dabbling in the kitchen, not to mention meals out at restaurants. All that said, one meal that sticks in my mind is the dinner I had the first night my husband and I were in Rome on our trip to Italy eight or nine years ago.

Catfish Lullaby

Pretty much everything we ate on that trip was wonderful, but the first night stands out. Not necessarily for the food – the meal itself was actually pretty simple (pasta with mushrooms, and a cheese plate), but for everything around it. We flew to Rome overnight from Philadelphia, and spent the day walking all over the city, part of it carrying heavy bags because we couldn’t check into our hotel yet.

We were trying to go as long as we could before eating or resting to acclimate to the time zone. Around 5:30 or 6, we finally gave up, which is of course ridiculously early for dinner in Italy. But we were done, so we stopped at the first place that was open. We were the only people other than staff in an absolutely over the top dining room – mirrors, crystal chandeliers, gold-flecked paint, and a spiral staircase winding up to the second floor. We were jet-lagged, exhausted, and probably dusty, disgusting, and sweaty to boot. And in that moment, finally sitting down, knowing we could go back to the hotel and crash soon, that simple pasta with mushrooms and cheese was the best damned thing I had ever tasted. I still think about that meal to this day.

Thanks, A.C., it’s like they say, “when in Rome… go to dinner early to kill time, defy jet lag, and then crash in your hotel.” Or something like that.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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