Eating Authors: Jeffe Kennedy

1 Comment » Written on May 22nd, 2017 by
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Jeffe Kennedy

If you’re reading this on time then you know who won which Nebula Awards over the weekend, something I don’t know yet because I wrote this up prior to the conference and awards banquet. All I know with any certainty is it’s wasn’t me (I had no dogs in this race, thus ending my four year streak of nominations — hey, maybe next year).

What I can tell you, by way of a nice EATING AUTHORS segue, is that this week’s guest Jeffe Kennedy has been elected to the SFWA Board as one of our new Directors-at-Large. She takes office on July 1st, and I’m looking forward to having her join the Board as she continues her history of service.

But let’s talk a bit about her accomplishments as an author. She has dozens of published novels, including her award-winning Fantasy romance series Twelve Kingdoms. Last year she started two new series.Sorcerous Moons has already spawned four volumes in just six months. And her Uncharted Realms series has released a more modest two books in seven months, with a third due out this summer. It’s an impressive — and intimidating — pace, but one that her fans surely appreciate.

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

JK: When the waiter suggested the halibut cheeks, I was not tempted. I mean, I’d never had them, they don’t sound remotely appealing, and the biologist in me immediately set to wonder if the bony fishes even have cheeks. Were they somehow referring to the gills – maybe the operculum or, heavens forbid, the rakers and filaments? Regardless, none of that sounded edible, much less appealing.

Lonen's War

But the waiter waxed on about the special, how this delicacy was local, available only seasonally, exquisitely prepared, and so forth. My fish pathologist husband allowed as how cheeks had to be a misnomer, a colloquialism, but he’d heard of this dish.

We were not warm-water fish savvy. Coming from our land-locked home in Wyoming, he knew everything about trout and other cold-water fishes. But there we were, on Mackinac Island, sitting at a little table on the pier in the early season. I’d been sent to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for my day job, and David had tagged along, to see this part of the country neither of us had visited before. We went out a few days early and played it by ear, something easy to do since tourist season hadn’t yet kicked in. The restaurant was largely empty, and the few other patrons elected to sit inside.

The Pages of the Mind

But, coming from our still frozen high-altitude home, the evening felt still and warm and perfect. The sun set, illuminating the lake water, and we drank wine by the light of a single candle.

And, Oh. My. God. Those halibut cheeks!

I’ve since learned that this a Thing. People wait for halibut-cheek season and go bananas concocting the best recipes. If you’re an anatomy stickler like me, the “cheek” is the fleshy part on top of the operculum. They’re crazy tender and very nearly sweet. That night we had them simply prepared in light wine butter sauce that brought out every nuance of the subtle flavor, like spring time and fresh water, melting snow and warm winds.

One of the loveliest evenings of my life.

Thanks, Jeffe. Fish cheeks. Wow. The mind croggles. Or, to paraphrase Shakespeare, o brave new world, that has such meals in ’t!

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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One Response to “Eating Authors: Jeffe Kennedy”

Halibut CHEEKS. And thanks for hosting me, Lawrence! I’m all aflutter that you called my pace intimidating. A girl has to pay the bills, yanno. (And I like diamonds just fine, but not pawning them to pay the rent.)


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