Eating Authors: Jean Lamb

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Jean Lamb

It’s fair to say that every day I’m doing a little bit better than the day before. It’s also true that the brain fog continues, and I’m still juggling each day’s few good hours to get things done. Which is why I recently put out a call asking for authors to reach out to me if they’d like to be on EATING AUTHORS. One of the writers who responded is Jean Lamb, and so here she is.

Jean lives in south-central Oregon and has retired from her DayJob, leaving her free to write. She’s also quite active in local politics and indulges in writing Harry Potter fanfic.

With regard to her own worlds, Jean thinks in terms of six book story arcs for each of her series, and moves forward with them simultaneously. Which means we can expect additional books in her Ghost Ship series, as well as her Chronicles of the Phoenix Empire some time soon. The Dragon’s Pearl is the second volume of her Tameron and the Dragon series.

LMS: Welcome, Jean. What’s your most memorable meal?

JL: Ah, the meal. My husband and I drive up to JR’s, once a restaurant in Klamath Falls, Oregon. As we enter, we are quickly seated and offered popcorn and water to tide us over while we look at the menu and our drink order goes back to the bar. We choose our customary meal, which is prime rib with baked potato and a few vegetables on the side.

The Dragon's Pearl

We are then served onion soup, made with the drippings of Prime Rib Past and with a hard cheesy toast down in the bottom of the bowl. It’s accompanied by a small loaf each of fresh-baked bread (still warm) and a small dish of butter (not the hard little butter squares). Our drinks come then, too—my husband with a shot of Irish, neat, while I have a glass of cabernet (it doesn’t have to be a fancy one, as my palate has barely progressed beyond box wine). But the combination of wine, soup, cheesy toast, and bread and butter are almost a meal in themselves.

Oh, Leonard (a nice older gentleman) is playing the organ, softly, and will take requests for a dollar. My husband goes up and puts one and asks for “What Is A Youth?” from the Zefferelli ROMEO AND JULIET, a date movie back in the cheapo theaters when we were dating waaay back when. We pick at the salad (just served) as a place-maker while waiting for the main course.

Phoenix in Shadow

And then it comes. The Klamath Basin is noted for its potatoes. They are grown mainly for fresh-pack and restaurant use—in fact, one article in Time Magazine decades ago said the perfect recipe for French fries started with a Klamath potato. I say this, because our platter contains a slab of prime rib cooked to perfection and almost tender enough for a fork, and a really large baked potato done just right—split open, dripping with butter, and with a small dish of butter to apply when you’ve eaten your way down to the skin. We apply ourselves to the potato first. Various condiments are available for the meat, like Worcestershire sauce, A-1, and spot of Tabasco for the adventurous.

There is silence save for the mostly quiet appreciation of the food. It soon becomes clear that we’ll be having prime rib for supper tomorrow, too, but that’s what take-out boxes are for. As the food is put into the boxes, we are offered strawberry ice cream with small peppermint candies scattered through it. Since it is well known that everyone has a small, separate stomach just for dessert, we nod our heads and enjoy it.

Dead Man's Hand

The check comes with a couple of wrapped peppermint candies. We pay, add a very good tip, and stagger out to the car, from thence to drive home and spend the rest of the evening like very happy beached whales.

Unfortunately, the restaurant isn’t there any more, at least not under that name. The owner was shot in a robbery by a burglar, who tried to cover his steps by setting it on fire. That actually saved the owner’s life, since the firefighters discovered him and made sure he had proper medical attention. He tried to keep the place going, but he just wasn’t able to after that. The older gentleman who played the organ had died prior to that.

So JR’s just isn’t there. The Mazatlan, which uses the same location, is a nice Mexican place, but just not what we remembered and loved.

Thanks, Jean. Some of the best meals seem to be from restaurants that have gone away. It makes me think of ghosts of “doggie bags” and phantom menus.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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