Eating Authors: Michael Hodges

No Comments » Written on June 29th, 2015 by
Categories: Plugs
Michael Hodges

And lo, we’ve nearly reached the end of the month, roughly the halfway point of 2015. Looking back over the past six months, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the year so far, and looking forward I see even more exciting adventures on the horizon. Hoping you are the same.

Meanwhile, it’s another Monday, and one of my favorite ways to start the week is by telling you about an author that may be new to you but shouldn’t be. Michael Hodges has been writing short fiction for years, publishing in venues such as Penumbra Magazine and Perihelion SF.

Michael recently saw his first novel, The Puller, released by the fine folk at Severed Press. On a related note, the book’s already been optioned for a film, so run off and read it quickly before the movie comes out.

Michael dwells in the greater Chicago area, but his soul haunts the Northern Rockies.

LMS: Welcome, Michael. So when you see the phrase “most memorable meal,” what springs to your mind?

MH: For me, the meals I’ve enjoyed are remembered more for location and company than taste or refinement.

The Puller

I remember one particular meal on a river in Montana. I was with a girlfriend at the time touring the Northern Rockies, and we decided to stop at a river that had appeared in a couple movies, most notably “A River Runs Through It” and “The Horse Whisperer”. It was my first visit to Montana, and I was mesmerized by the landscape purity. The air was thick with mayfly hatches, and osprey and bald eagles angled down the riparian corridor while pronghorn grazed in the meadows. My girlfriend and I decided to set camp on a shady bank, and from there we cooked Kraft Shells and Cheese. The cheese wasn’t the powder kind, but rather the thick Velveeta-type sealed in an aluminum pouch. I remember the hiss of the camp stove, the thrum of bird wings, and the lull of boiling water. This was far from a gourmet meal obviously, but as they say, location is everything. We topped off the shells with crushed red peppers and a bit of barbeque sauce on the side. As we ate the sun dipped below the foothills, bathing the river in a golden hue as rainbow trout nipped the surface for mayflies.

Midway through finishing the shells and cheese, a stray cat entered our campground and proceeded to knead the ground repeatedly as we patted its head. There were no noises except for the cat and river. The quiet was a startling contrast from the diesel engine roar of Chicago, and at that moment I realized these were the best noodles I ever had. I was mesmerized by Montana, happy to be with my girlfriend, and my belly was full. There’s not much more a person can ask for.

I’ve had the Kraft Shells and Cheese since, but I can never repeat how they tasted that first day at the base of the Beartooth Mountains.

Thanks, Michael. I’m convinced that what makes this dish work is the ability to use the words “riparian” and “Velveeta” in the same paragraph.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!



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