Eating Authors: L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

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L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

One of the best things about attending the World Science Fiction Convention (aka WorldCon) is connecting with old friends whom I might otherwise not see for years and years. Also high on that list is meeting new people, names that I’ve known forever but never had the faces to attach to them before. This week’s guest, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., falls into that second category. A few days into the convention I happened to be having a chat with an editor and Lee’s name came up. Less than two hours later, I ran into him in the green room. When Fate pulls your strings like that it’s important to pay attention, and so I wasted no time and extended an invitation to EATING AUTHORS.

If you’re not already be acquainted with his work, you’re in for a great treat. Lee’s career has produced more than fifty novels and includes both science fiction and fantasy. With regard to the latter, his series The Saga of the Recluse spans eighteen books, and has sold nearly three million copies! His latest work, Solar Express, is a hard SF novel that releases tomorrow.

LMS: Welcome, Lee. Now that the fires of Spokane are far behind us, tell me about your most memorable meal.

Solar Express

LEM: The most memorable meal I ever had was in our previous house, in East Hebron, New Hampshire, on Thanksgiving Day, 1991. East Hebron, for those who have never heard of it, was then and remains a community of roughly 200 people scattered along the eastern shore of Newfound Lake. Carol Ann and I had been recently engaged, and we wanted to celebrate with friends. Now, Carol Ann is a fantastic cook, and I’d been looking forward to this meal for some time. She had already prepared her incredible sage cornbread stuffing, which in her case never goes inside the turkey but is prepared on the stovetop and then simmered for long hours in in crockpot. Then came the time to fire up the oven of our propane stove, since we lived far from natural gas and electricity cost an arm and leg, figuratively. At that moment, the stove erupted in flame. Flames shot from the stove-top burners and flared through the oven. I couldn’t even get close to the conflagration..

The Magic of Recluce

Carol Ann had more presence of mind. “Turn off the gas outside!”

I scrambled down the steps, since the house was on a hill, and out the front door. I tried to hurry back uphill through the knee-deep snow, but slipped and slid as much as hurried before I got to the propane tanks and turned off the gas. When I got back to the kitchen, Carol Ann had the fire out, between using the last of the baking soda and who knows what else, but the entire top of the stove was destroyed, a charred and, in some places, melted, mess. In rural New Hampshire on Thanksgiving Day, there are no recourses.

We attempted to carve up the raw turkey and microwave it in sections. A third of each section came out raw, a third electro-dried, and about a third edible. There were no mashed potatoes or cooked vegetables… and certainly no gravy. The relishes, particularly Carol Ann’s orange cranberry relish/sauce, and the stuffing were delicious. So was my apple pie, since I’d done it the day before.

Thanks, Lee. If this had happened in my house, my wife would accuse me of arranging it all as an excuse to have pie for dinner. Of course, she’d probably be right.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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