Eating Authors: Erica L. Satifka

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Erica L. Satifka

It’s a bit of a blur (as so much of my memory is), but I think I first met this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Erica L. Satifka, at a Capclave. Or maybe it was the Nebulas in 2011 or 2012, or possibly in 2014 at World Fantasy. So, okay, I’m not clear on the date or the precise venue, but I’m pretty sure it was in the greater D.C. area. She and her husband, Rob, still lived in Pennsylvania at the time (they’ve since relocated to Oregon), and Erica was publishing short fiction in places like Shimmer Magazine, and Clarkesworld, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. I remember it was late, and we sat in a bar-adjacent section of the hotel and talked shop while I ate some truly forgettable bar-menu dinner. What did stick in my mind was the impression of “hey, these are good people.”

Time does its thing, and we stumble into one another in Kansas City at MidAmeriCon II. Erica mentions that a little over a month ago Apex Publications released her first novel, Stay Crazy. High fives all around! I love celebrating the success of other writers, and a first novel is a real benchmark moment. It also seemed like the perfect time to invite her to drop by this blog, and lo, here she is now.

LMS: Welcome, Erica. So, you know how this works. Please tell me about your most memorable meal.

ELS: So, I am not much of a foodie. I’ve always been more comfortable around a microwave than a stovetop, and subtle use of ingredients is often lost on me. While chicken nuggets never talked to me like in my novel Stay Crazy, I ate enough of them growing up that Tyson products constituted at least 1.7% of my prepubescent body mass. So it was a true sign of affection when I decided to cook pancakes for my now-spouse and in-house editor Rob after we’d been dating for a couple of weeks. Look, I’m doing this thing I hate, for you!

Rob wanted to return the favor, but there was one problem: They were used to such things as “spices” being in everyone’s kitchen. Neither my roommate nor I bothered with such things. Who needs spices when you’re cooking frozen dinners or scrambling eggs?

“All I can find is chili powder,” Rob called to me in the living room one night after we’d stopped for hamburger.

“We also have salt.”

I don’t remember if Rob started looking towards the apartment door wistfully or not, but I do know that they managed to cook the burgers that night, which tasted fine to me but clearly weren’t up to Rob’s usual standards. They’ve never admitted it might have broken the relationship, but I imagine the thought process went like this: “Can I stay with a person who didn’t appreciate oregano? Who can’t pick cumin out of a lineup? Who thinks tarragon sounds like a good name for a girl or a boy?” I am sure it was a painful, nerve-wracking experience.

Stay Crazy

So for our next weekend together, Rob brought everything necessary to make me the greatest gift of all: An actual, flavorful dinner. Instead of chicken nuggets, Rob brought boneless breasts. Who knew chicken came in large pieces that could be fried or baked? Certainly not post-college, living away from home me! Along with the chicken, Rob brought marinades (“What’s with all these salad dressing bottles?” I remember thinking), which he used to douse the soon-to-be-sliced breasts in before cooking them. As a newly-minted speculative fiction writer, I thought I was seeing a wizard perform arcane rituals right before my very eyes.

I wish I remembered more of the meal, but I know it was delicious. Rob beamed with pride. I don’t know if the chicken had been part of a dimensional portal and we ate our way to species survival, but I do know it opened up my previously-dormant taste buds.

That night, Rob gave me my first jar of garlic salt. That’s how I knew it was true love. And we’ve been cooking ever since.

Thanks, Erica. Another tale of chicken breasts and true love.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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