Eating Authors: M. K. Hutchins

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M. K. Hutchins

As I type this, it’s early Sunday morning and birds are chirping outside my office window. The weather forecast is for a bright and sunny day with the warmest temperatures of the year. Yes, my friends, it seems that Spring has come to my little corner of existence and all is right with the world. And with that chipper opening, let me introduce you to this week’s guest here at EATING AUTHORS, M. K. Hutchins, whose debut novel Drift comes out tomorrow from the fine folks over at Tu Books. I confess, I’ve not read it yet, but if books can be judged by their covers, than this one is going to be fantastic!

In the interests of full disclosure I should tell you that I published one of Megan’s short stories. It happened back in 2012 as part of the experimental anthology Cucurbital 3, in which all the authors wrote stories based on the same three prompts: Madness, Darkness, and Mattress. Hey, I said “experimental.”

The other thing I want to tell you about Megan is that she’s compiled histories of Mayan glyphs. Are you kidding me? Mayan glyphs are like kryptonite to me (if in addition to being Superman’s weakness, kryptonite also was a tasty and addictive candy with a rich nougat center and lots of chocolate throughout). So, knowing this, how could I not ask her to come here and tell us about her most memorable meal? And maybe some day she’ll let me take a peek at those compilations.

LMS: Welcome, Megan, and congratulations on your debut novel. Now, on to the task at hand. What meal stands out in your memory?

MKH: I got married when I was a junior in college. We lived in a one-bedroom, brick apartment just south of campus. Expensive anything wasn’t really a possibility. But, hey, we had to buy groceries anyway and I was interested in food. Cooking became my hobby. Once a month I put on a dinner date for us.

That August, we’d just gotten back from an archaeology dig in Belize. With classes still around the corner and access to 98 miles of university library bookshelves, I decided to try something ambitious. I read a half-dozen books on Japanese food. At the time, I thought I’d learned a lot. In retrospect, it was nothing but a humble introduction. But I was fascinated. For the first time in my life, I understood the importance of presentation and found a world beyond sushi and miso soup.

Drift

And so, one morning late in August, I walked home at 9 a.m. after finishing my early morning bakery shift. My husband left for his work, and for the rest of the day, I prepared dinner. I rearranged the furniture. I draped walls in fabric. I sliced and chopped and marinated. By the time my husband came home, the aroma of a multitude of delicacies filled our much-changed apartment.

The meal was certainly tasty, but I’ve had many tasty meals. I poured hours into these dishes — weeks reading and an entire day preparing—but I’ve worked hard on other food, too.

What made it unforgettable was seeing our tiny apartment, for one night, become another place. It was having food magically transform the world around us into something bigger and brighter and lovely. The beauty was fleeting. The furniture had to go back, the fabric had to come down. But however not-humble it is to name a meal I cooked myself, this is the one I’ll always remember.

Thanks for sharing such a sweet memory, Megan. Mind you, I’m still wondering what it was you guys actually ate.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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