Eating Authors: Leah Bobet

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Leah Bobet

Today on Eating Authors we’re visiting with Leah Bobet, a writer I feel like I’ve known forever through one online community or another, though I’ve probably seen her face to face fewer than a dozen times. You probably know her for her poetry and short fiction, which routinely ends up reprinted in one or another of the “Year’s Best” anthologies by the likes of David Hartwell, Ellen Datlow, or Rich Horton. She’s also Publisher and Editor over at http://www.ideomancer.com/, where she and her team routinely bring you some of the best of online fiction.

On the first of this month, Leah moved from the ranks of short story author to novelist with Above. Early reviews are giving it five stars out of five, and if by chance you haven’t come across her work before, then I’ve definitely done my good deed for the day by introducing you to her. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book. But first, take a moment to enjoy her most memorable meal.

LMS: We were supposed to go to dinner last November when I was up in Toronto, and I’ll always wonder what memorable meal we both missed out on. Still, I’m sure you’ve had others. What springs to mind as the best?

RG: The best meal: That’s really, really hard, actually! Food’s a huge part of my life in a few ways: I’m part of a very community-oriented CSA, can and pickle vegetables, and source as much as I can from local farms and producers, but I’m also heavy into urban agriculture and food security, to the point where I’m starting a post-grad certificate in it later this year – and hoping to move from being a volunteer with food security organizations to making that a career. Every meal I have is quietly tied up in those things, the same way it’s tied up in the joy of people’s company while you eat it, or where you were in your life when you sat down to dinner.

It’s like fiction, I guess. Context is everything. A truly good meal is all context.

Above

The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens
Clockwork Phoenix 2

So the best meal I ever had was a steaming streetside lunch from a crepe stand in the side streets of Avignon, at sixteen years old, ordering in fumbling French under a blue March sky, because it cost maybe 16 francs, and it was huge and fresh and sweet, and I was so fully and completely in France at that moment. Or, alternately, a snack of passionfruit, Indian candy, and farmer’s market maple pepperoni under the totem poles in Stanley Park in Vancouver last October, because the weather was cool and bright and I was sharing it with one of my best friends, who’d moved across the country two months before, and we were in Vancouver! Together! And this was amazing! Or the French toast with beef bacon and blueberry jam from Caplansky’s Delicatessen I split with my roommate on a bright June Saturday morning, two years back, right after we signed the lease on this apartment, all empty and rife with possibility.

Or, y’know, the spinach, duck, and strawberry salad I fixed myself this afternoon for lunch (CSA spinach and red onion and sliced mushrooms; Muscovy duck, roasted last night with seven-spice rooibos rub, bought at my tiny local-farm-stuff-only butcher shop right at the end of the Easter rush; balsamic dressing made in a jam jar; bright red strawberries). Because right now I’m sitting with that empty bowl beside me and the radio on, my head full up with sunshine, and delighting that I made this and it was amazing, and… well. I’m happy.

So for me? The answer will change again, and again, and again. Because I plan to be happy at dinnertime too, and dinner’s going to be soup dumplings…

Leah, I’m sorry, you lost me when you mentioned maple pepperoni. What the heck is that? And more importantly, will you bring some to me at the next convention we’re both attending?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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