Eating Authors: Catherine Asaro

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Catherine Asaro

My guest this week here on EATING AUTHORS is unstoppable. She’s earned a doctorate in chemical physics from Harvard, been a ballet dancer, two-term president of SFWA, multiple time winner of the Sapphire Award, the Prism Award, and the Nebula Award. She’s a member of SIGMA, the SF authors think tank that advises the US government. And, oh yeah, she’s a rockstar (literally).

I’m talking of course about Catherine Asaro, known to readers far and wide as the author of the Skolian Saga, a seemingly infinite series of novelettes, novellas and novels that combine politics, hard science, and romance amidst their science fiction plot lines. And despite being well known as an Analog author, she’s also found time to write fantasy, as demonstrated by her very popular Lost Continent series.

LMS: Welcome, Catherine. Thanks for being here. Now, let’s get to the question I know you’re eager to answer. What’s your most memorable meal?

CA: Christmas season is always a head-scratching time for me. My ability to come up with clever presents for my husband ranks about as high as my ability to play basketball. Given that I throw a ball like the proverbial girl and that my height isn’t any more than knee high to a grasshopper, you can probably guess that my ability at basketball–and by analogy, my ability to choose gifts for my husband–totally tanks.

My husband likes socks. White athletic socks. His family buys him socks for Christmas. His relatives buy him socks. My relatives buy him socks. He is in heaven. He goes through socks quickly because he plays a lot of sports (being far better at such than his ballerina wife). Socks make him smile and beam and nod to the giver with appreciation.

This year, I just couldn’t bring myself to give him socks. So what should I get? Last year he gave my male relatives things like big, heavy extension cords and wrenches. They all seemed very happy with these objects and bonded throughout the holiday about what they planned to construct with them. I had no clue. The last thing I would have thought to buy someone for Christmas was a wrench.

Then I had a brainstorm. I would give my husband the best dinner we’d ever had. Which meant, of course, that I wouldn’t cook said dinner. I went online and checked out restaurants in the Baltimore/Washington D.C area. After much mouth-watering perusal, I came upon a place called The Prime Rib. It’s ratings were through the roof, it has a pianist playing every night, and the decor gleamed, all black, gold, and crystal, like an impeccably glamorous speakeasy from the Prohibition era of the 1920s.

Carnellians
The Charmed Sphere
The Phoenix Code

So I gave my husband a card saying I was going to take him to The Prime Rib for his holiday dinner. He looked pleased (food rates even higher than sports with him). We made our reservations, the two of us and our daughter (who gave him socks for Christmas, much to his great joy). We dressed up in our fanciest duds and off we went to the restaurant.

Talk about exquisite.

I had a perfectly cooked, juicy prime rib along with buttery creamed spinach, both of which practically melted in my mouth. The pilaf was excellent. My drink looked like a martini, tasted like pineapple, and had a name I couldn’t pronounce (or maybe I just can’t remember it). I must have liked the drink, because I had two of them. Fortunately, I wasn’t driving that night. My husband had his favorite dish, a hefty chicken concoction which was one of the main reasons I chose that restaurant. My daughter, being a ballerina as well, had a salad. A fancy salad. And that dazzling pineapple drink. She and I also I split a homemade apple pie with ice cream.

Not only was the food to die for, but the atmosphere was wonderful. The pianist was amazing and the staff were all excellent. And they served alcoholic drinks, just like in speakeasies. Well, okay, so does everyone now, but hey, this place also had classy art-deco pictures of flappers on the wall.

We had an absolutely lovely meal. Better even than socks.

Thanks, Catherine. Though, to be fair, actually eating the socks was never on the table, right?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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