Eating Authors: Cassie Alexander

1 Comment » Written on May 21st, 2012 by
Categories: Plugs
Cassie Alexander

I have no way of knowing what day or time it is for you as you read this, just as you don’t really know what day or time it was when I wrote this, so let’s both go with the polite fiction that it’s Monday morning, because that’s when Eating Authors shows up on this blog to bring you a memorable meal from yet another author. Our guest today is Cassie Alexander. Cassie’s a registered nurse who also happens to write urban fantasy. And, as she admits, she has a fondness for blood. For the sake of argument, let’s all assume that last bit applies more to her fiction than her day job.

And speaking of her fiction, let me point you toward Nightshifted, the first book of a trilogy coming out tomorrow from St. Martin’s that involves one Edie Spence, a nurse whose patients aren’t human. The book is already out in Germany (from Piper Verlag), and the French edition is coming up fast too.

LMS: Cassie, I’m going to exercise super-human control and not make any cracks about hospital food (if for no other reason than because I have no doubt but that you’ve heard them all before). Instead, let’s leave those institutional cafeterias behind and tell me about your most memorable meal.

CA: I grew up in Texas, but I’ve lived in California for fifteen years now, and what seemed so simple to acquire in Texas is now almost impossible to get out here.

It isn’t that there isn’t chicken fried steak in California, it’s that it’s all wrong. The entire point of chicken fried steak is to take some piece of meat that might otherwise be inedible, to tenderize it within an inch of its life, fry it up in good batter, and then slather it in cream gravy. I’ve had every bastardized version of chicken fried steak possible in California, including some I could have never imagined. Nice cuts of meat, thick instead of thin, weak batter, with god forbid brown gravy instead of cream – and, most sad, huge notes in the menu for restaurant patrons to warn them that chicken fried steak does not involve chicken, something that every child of the south inherently knows and does not need to see warnings about.


So my most recent memorable meal was a recent trip we took to Texas. I was taking my husband on the “meet all the relatives” tour, and we were driving down from Dallas to Austin that day, and actually had a lunch date in Austin…but I made sure we left early enough to have a chicken fried steak brunch at George’s in Waco.

They’ve got chicken fried steak that is the epitome of the chicken fried steak experience. The place is a little on the dive-y side, with neon beer signs, and a restaurant floor that’s been added onto, and then added onto again, with laminate flooring and booths from the 70’s. But the food there is *so good*. The chicken fried steak is amazing. Crispy batter, a little chewy, and everything is slathered in cream gravy. We stuffed ourselves, and it was just like I remembered what chicken fried steak is supposed to be.

Now see, no one has ever explained to me before just what chicken fried steak is supposed to be. And now I know. And now I also know that I’ve never, ever, had the real thing. Is this something I should be able to get in San Antonio? If so, let’s make plans to grab some at the Worldcon there in 2013. I think I can hold out that long.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!


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