Eating Authors: Ann Leckie

No Comments » Written on July 7th, 2014 by
Categories: Plugs
Ann Leckie

I first encountered this week’s guest, Ann Leckie, back in February of 2012 when she contacted me in my position as SFWA’s Election officer to express her desire to run for Secretary. She won that contest, and served for a year on SFWA’s board at a time when our community reeled with what should have been obvious issues of harassment. Ann’s comments at the time were direct, cogent, and well worth including a link to here because, absurd as it may seem, the problem has not gone away.

But that was two years ago, and you might well ask what has she been up to since? Seriously, unless you’ve been living under that proverbial rock, the answer should be clear. Her debut novel, Ancillary Justice came out last fall to critical acclaim and in the months since has tied for the BSFA award, won the Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke awards, and less than two weeks ago she came away with the Locus Award. The book is also up for the Hugo, and that decision will come down next month in London.

Her first novel is the first book of a trilogy. The second volume, Ancillary Sword, comes out next October. Go ahead and pre-order it today.

LMS: Welcome, Ann. Thanks for dropping by to talk about wondrous meals. Which of yours stands out as the most memorable?

AL: I’ve had quite a few memorable meals, and it’s difficult to single one out. I worked for a long time at a restaurant that had the most fabulous cooks, and we served the most amazing food. Some of the best food I’ve ever had was back in the kitchen after an event, eating the most incredible leftovers. (Of those I think the most memorable was the night a co-worker mistook the bordelaise for the caramel sauce–first when serving the apple pastries to the guests, and then the other way around when making up his plate of supper afterward.)

Ancillary Justice

And really, while I freely admit I love food, meals are memorable for so many reasons beyond that. The cheese sandwich and lemonade I had for lunch that one time, while I was volunteering at an archaeological dig? Never forgotten it. The first time I ate fish that I’d caught myself? Yeah. Dinner on the grounds at any shapenote singing I’ve been to. Mmm. It’s difficult to pick one.

So it’s mostly a question of what springs to mind. Well, a couple of years ago, it snowed and snowed, and nearly the whole city was shut down, but they’d plowed the roads in our part of town, and we didn’t have anything good at home, so my husband and I dug ourselves out and went looking for lunch. There was an Indian place we particularly liked that had a lunch buffet–score! They were open. Now, this place had lovely food, but it could depend on who was in the kitchen sometimes, particularly in the matter of how hot something on the buffet was. But this day the food was perfect. The palak paneer was just exactly right, the aloo gobi was delicious and exactly as hot as we wanted it, the korma was perfect. Everything. Just perfect. And the whole city covered in snow and just us and a couple other customers, and two women, the only employees in the place, who obviously had done everything, had filled up this gorgeous buffet line with perfect food despite the struggle to get to work that morning in all the snow.

We made sure to tell them when we left, that the food there was always good, but that day the food had been particularly delicious, better even than usual. And they started laughing and one said, “The guys left us here all by ourselves today to do everything! And we did it all without their help!”

That restaurant is closed now, sadly. Those women deserved to be proud of themselves, because that was some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten.

Thanks, Ann. You’ve set images of “perfect korma” dancing in my head. Now if I could just move those dancers downwards a bit to my tongue.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!



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