Eating Authors: Elly Bangs

No Comments » Written on May 3rd, 2021 by
Categories: Plugs
Elly Bangs

Welcome to May, which for me means warmer weather and more mornings spent walking laps in a nearby park as I dictate novels to myself. In celebration of this (and in an effort to work smarter) I recently ordered what I hope will be an even better microphone for my walks. The new mic arrived yesterday, and about the time this posts today I should be looping through the park testing it out. Let’s hope it goes well, as I have a lot of books I need to write.

And speaking of books to write, that’s your segue into this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Elly Bangs, whose first novel, Unity, debuted last month. Unity is a post-apocalytic cyberpunk thriller which Elly describes as “evoking the gritty cyberpunk of Mad Max and the fluid idealism of Sense8” to which I can only reply “take my money!”

Elly is based in Seattle and is a graduate of Clarion West. According to bits and pieces on the interwebs she also enjoys tinkering with circuitry, rode a bicycle all the way to the Panama Canal, and likes baking pies. I included that last one on the remote chance that doing so will cause a pie to arrive at my door. Hey, you never know.

LMS: Welcome, Elly. Please tell me about your most memorable meal.

EB: Around the end of 2011, I was pretty fed up with my life, and I hadn’t seen much of the world — so I decided to quit my job, give away or box up everything I owned, and ride my bicycle as far as I possibly could. I left Seattle heading south, and three or four months later I passed through the beautiful city of Morelia, Mexico. It had been a long day, and now I was dog tired and extremely hungry, but there was a problem: the sun had just set, and the city, at least the part of it that I was in, completely shut down at dusk. Nobody on the street, no open storefronts, nothing. I went out looking for street food, a chain, a corner store with bags of chips, literally anything. I had nearly given up all hope when it emerged suddenly from the darkness: a great yellow neon sign. The last open restaurant for kilometers.


I went up to the counter, practically salivating, and examined the big chalkboard menu on the wall… only to become confused. I couldn’t figure out what they were serving. My Spanish was okay, but each item on the menu was just a list of ingredients (sausage, pepper, onion; onion, vegetables, tomato; etc.) without saying what kind of thing they would be used to create. The guy behind the counter was giving me a weird look. But what did it matter? I figured nothing with sausage and pepper and onions could be bad, so I chose that one. Then I sat down and waited with a mixture of curiosity, mild worry, and ravenous hunger.

Even when they brought it out to me, at first I couldn’t figure out what I’d ordered. It looked kind of like an omelet, but there was something weird about the eggs. Only when I took a bite did I realize: they weren’t eggs at all, they were cheese! They’d taken a bunch of delicious ingredients and wrapped them up in a great big blanket of fried mozzarella, or something like it. It was the most delicious thing that had ever met my tongue, and it may still be to this day. I couldn’t hope to describe the symphony of flavors, the rich dance of fat and salt, herbs and spices, toasty crust and hot gooey interior. It filled my belly, lifted my spirits, and fortified my soul. I stayed in a hostel down the street for a few days, and each night I told myself I’d go exploring and discover something new — only to be drawn irresistibly back to the same yellow neon sign. Had I stayed any longer, I wouldn’t have been able to leave at all. To this day I don’t know what the dish is called, and I don’t know if I’ll ever taste its like again — and maybe that’s for the best, for the sake of my arteries.

Thanks, Elly. I’m devastated that despite spending days under the influence of the yellow neon sign you never learned the name of this dish. How could you not? And did that oversight haunt you as you pedaled away?

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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