Eating Authors: Laura J. Underwood

No Comments » Written on August 10th, 2015 by
Categories: Plugs
Laura J. Underwood

If all goes as planned, you’re reading this on a Monday morning and I’m recovering from a wild weekend of flying to southern California (and back) where I witnessed the nuptials of my youngest nephew to a delightful woman who is surely too good for him. Not to put any pressure on the happy couple, but he represents the only shot of the family name continuing on into another generation.

In any case, I’m preparing this post late on Friday, so that even if the unthinkable happens (i.e., I consume my weight in shrimp at the reception and need to be rushed to a hospital) you won’t suffer. Or something like that.

And with that complete and utter lack of segue, let me tell you about this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Laura J. Underwood. The two of us go way back, to the glory days of and nested topic threads that devoured more potential writing time than I care to acknowledge. Laura always had entertaining posts because in addition to binge an author, she is a member of that most holy of professions. I speak of course of librarians. She’s also a a harpist, a champion fencer, an unapologetic hiker, but really after librarian all the rest is just gilding the lilly.

Back in the 90’s, Laura’s short fiction could regularly be found in the pages of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s FANTASY Magazine. She followed these appearances with other works, both short and long, published by a range of small press publishers, perhaps most notably Yard Dog Press. And she’s still at. Thanks to the development of epublishing, many of her early works are available again, just waiting for your attention. Laura writes fantasy, and her stories show a degree of accuracy you’d expect from someone with a librarian’s eye (to say nothing of the details in the swordplay and musical bits). Why aren’t you reading more of her stuff?

LMS: Welcome, Laura. Tell us about your most memorable meal.

Chronicles of the Last War

LJU: I am a child of the south, so I grew up eating all manner of fried foods, overcooked foods and in general, whatever was put on my plate. I am not picky about what I eat (I have long said that food exists to nourish, and good food is just a bonus). Still, I think the most memorable meal probably occurred in the late nineties. I was going out to California to visit my dad for the first time since high school. Dad lived in Carmel Valley, and if he had one passion, it was food.

During that visit, I was taken to several places that I enjoyed. I got to taste fresh tuna off the boat, pasta made right on the spot at a street fair and a restaurant where they served every kind of peppers imaginable.

The Hounds of Ardagh

But the best place I remember going was called the Thai Bistro. My father was touting it for two reasons. Best Thai food in the area and the best French Deserts. Apparently, the husband was a French Pastry chef, and his wife was from Thailand. She wanted to start a restaurant serving Thai food, while he wanted to start a bakery. They compromised in their passions by putting forth a “best of both worlds” attitude and presented a varied menu from both parts of the world. The Thai food was excellent. I don’t remember it being too spicy (though I have never had a problem with spicy), but I do remember it being so flavorful, I ate it all (my father was of the opinion I could not). But the best part was the desert. I ordered an Éclair, and it was not your standard American sort of Éclair that you could find in any local bakery (most of which are actually “Long Johns, made with donut dough and filled with custard). Instead, it was a true French Éclair. The choux dough was flaky and the filling was whipped coffee with a hint of vanilla. The chocolate topping was dark and bittersweet and beautiful. I probably would have taken a dozen home if I had been able to figure out how to store them in my flight bag and not end up with a ton of filling on everything I

Huh. I don’t think I’ve ever had a genuine French Éclair, though I have to say, right about now if a traditional, American Long John made with donut dough and filled with custard showed up at my door, it would not be turned it away.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!


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