Eating Authors: Kameron Hurley

No Comments » Written on November 5th, 2012 by
Categories: Plugs
Kameron Hurley

Welcome to the first post-Sandy episode of EATING AUTHORS. For those of you who experienced the effects of the storm first hand, you have my deepest condolences. So many people lost so much property, or had large chunks of their lives destroyed or disrupted. Meanwhile the rest of the nation (and beyond) watched helplessly as horrific images danced on their television screens each evening. Yeah, don’t get me started on the Global Warming naysayers. Sigh. As for me and mine, we emerged unscathed, not that I needed further reason to feel blessed.

But let’s put all that behind us. The sun has come out. It’s a new day and we have a great new author with us. I’m referring to Kameron Hurley whose novel God’s War totally blew me away earlier this year. Seriously, I rarely post reviews, but this book was so amazing that I had to make an exception. You can check it out here if you hadn’t already seen it.

Kameron’s work has attracted the attention of much smarter and better read people than me. She’s received nominations for a slew of shiny trophies including the Nebula Award, the British SF Association Award, the James Tiptree Memorial Award, the Locus Award, and others. Last month she published Rapture, the third book in her Bel Dame Apocrypha. Remember that title; you’re going to be seeing it on a lot of award ballots in the coming year.

LMS: Hi, Kameron, thanks for being here. What would you like to tell me about your most memorable meal?

KH: Way back in my creative writing class days, we read a famous short story by… somebody famous… I believe it was the story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver. There’s this scene where they all get around the table and eat this enormous meal. None of them speak to each other, they just eat course after course, culminating in this enormous strawberry pie. Carver says they did not speak during the meal but “ate until they were exhausted.”

I know when I’m having a good meal when all conversation ceases because all parties are so involved in their meals that they forget about one another. It’s not that awkward silence of not knowing what to say, or simply being out of things to say, but it’s those meals where the food is so good, so filling, so, well, engrossing that you simply cannot spare a moment’s attention for anything else.

You might think you’d find this kind of meal in come exotic place, and indeed, I’ve eaten in all sorts of interesting places. I’ve had Fondue in Switzerland and ham-and-gravy in Southern Spain and a proper New Zealand breakfast of tomatoes and eggs and sausage. I’ve eaten delicate fries and brie sandwiches in France and incredible injera and hummus in Chicago. I had biryani in South Africa, and an unforgettable cheese-and-chips roti that may just be the perfect hangover food.

God's War

But if you want to know the place I go to get consistently engrossing meals, I’d have to say it’s Chipotle. Yes, Chipotle. Like the family in Cathedral who ate chicken and strawberry pie until they were exhausted, I can be fully present in a meal of clean, healthy food from Chipotle, seasoned just right, slathered in chipotle tabasco sauce (at least half a bottle). It’s the perfect combination of protein and veggies – skip the cheese, beans, and rice and get everything in a bowl, with guac, and get a side of chips, and the balance, for me, is just right.

I once had a guy come up to me in a Chipotle once, grin, and say, “Do you have any idea how happy you look right now?” as I was chowing down. I was really self-conscious at first, but the guy was sincere. He just shook his head and walked off.

Just today, my partner and I headed to Chipotle for a late lunch, both of us cranky and exhausted from a day of home improvement projects. My blood sugar was low. My irritation was high. And we sat down in front of our fajita burrito bowls and just totally laid into it. For a full twenty minutes, we did not speak. I’m sure that to strangers it appeared we may not even have known each other, so intent were we on our food.

But when it was all over, and the guac had settled, and we raised our heads, sated, and grinned, I got that same feeling I did reading that scene in the story, the one where everyone has come together in one shared experience, where everything is going to be all right, where we eat until we are exhausted, and go home together content.

Thanks again, Kameron. You know, I’d heard a great NPR story about Chipotle and their whole “food with integrity” approach, and the farms they bought from, and the way those farms treated the animals they raised. It impressed me, but then I forgot all about it and didn’t track down a restaurant near me. As penance, here’s a link to the Chipotle restaurant finder so that the folks reading this can be that much closer to sharing your experience.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!


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