Eating Authors: Rebecca Gomez Farrell

1 Comment » Written on September 28th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Rebecca Gomez Farrell

The Autumnal Equinox as well as National Elephant Appreciation Day fell on the same day this year and I hope you remembered to celebrate both. For unrelated reasons, I’ve been under stupid amounts of stress this past week and it’s likely that I will continue in that vein for another week or more, but the specifics are not my story to tell. Suffice it to say I have not been sleeping well, or exercising, or getting as much work done as I’d like.

Fortunately, things that I had set in motion are coming to fruition despite my stress levels. I refer of course to my first-ever Kickstarter, which was approved just the other day and will be going live on Wednesday. This is a bit of crowfunding to allow me to publish a book of one hundred of the best meals from the ten years of this very EATING AUTHORS blog. I promise I’ll be posting about it far and wide and sharing a link so you can get in on some of the amazing swag being offered.

Meanwhile, let me introduce you to this week’s guest, Rebecca Gomez Farrell, who resides out on the west coast of California where, when she’s not writings short stories or novels, she fills her time with a variety of author-adjacent activities. She co-organizes the East Bay Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Meetup Group, as well as heading up her local chapter of the national Women Who Submit Lit organization, which encourages all writers who identify as women and/or genderqueer to submit their work out for publication. As if that wasn’t enough, she recently stepped up and took on the responsibility of being the new Communications Manager for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)!

Having spent years myself in service to SFWA and seeing how the sausage gets made, I was impressed and immediately reached out to invite her to share a meal with all of you.

LMS: Welcome, Becca. Please talk to me about your most memorable meal.

RGF: In addition to writing fiction, I’m what the kids call an influencer, particularly of food and drink. So I’ve had a ton of memorable meals, from maple-walnut pie served a la mode with horchata ice cream to manhattans made with smoked bourbon. It’s a hobby that absolutely contributes to the sensual aspects of my writing. What’s most powerful to me, however, is the emotional memories a meal can trigger.


Which is why my favorite meal is not the near perfect Dungeness crab roll I had last week on a dock in Sausalito, though I admit, it comes close. My favorite meal is chilaquiles, something of a tortilla casserole that originated in Mexico but can be found in much of the Americas.

I didn’t know it as chilaquiles growing up. My family called it shipwreck, and they taught my mother how to cook it when she married into our particular Gomez branch. My burgeoning horror-writer heart reveled in the gruesome details of shipwreck, for this was a dish with a story. We cut corn tortilla chips into strips and fried them for the wooden planks of the wrecked ship. We drizzled canned tomato sauce over the chips in a casserole dish to recreate the blood, or the ocean, depending on whom you asked. Diced onion stood in for the poor sailors’ bones. Finally, we rained down flames of cheddar cheese on top. Two layers fit in a pan. Bake at the universal 350° for about 30 minutes. Then slather sour cream and guacamole on top, the true signs of a properly assimilated Mexican American dish. My family may loudly proclaim us to be Spanish, despite the first of my ancestors making that Atlantic trip over half a millennium ago, but we’ve been proudly Americans since Mexico ceded the Southwest.

Wings Unseen

Imagine the surprise of my college self, when in Santa Cruz, CA, I ordered a strange-sounding dish called chilaquiles for brunch. Out came a bowl of tomato salsa-dipped tortilla chips topped with scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and yes, crema and avocado. One bite, and I knew I’d met shipwreck’s true ancestor. Like my Gomez predecessors, its origins had been obscured to me. And sure, maybe it lost some of its flavor along the way. It certainly had morphed into a dinner meal rather than a breakfast feast sometime during our centuries in New Mexico and Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Yet it’s just as delightful both ways.

The last time I ordered chilaquiles was a few weeks ago from a local joint here in Oakland named Chica. They dip their chips in homemade enchilada sauce and top them with carnitas hash, cotija, salsa roja, chimichurri, and two fried eggs. Each bite triggers delight for me, in the freshness of their ingredients and the heartiness of homestyle Chicana cooking. A bite takes me back to my childhood love of shipwreck and its macabre ingredients, cherished memories and flavors I’ll never forget.

But if I ever write a seafaring tale and name the ship the SS Chilaquiles, well, I think you can guess what that poor vessel’s fate will be.

Thanks, Becca. I’ve been living on the east coast for too long, and I miss the authentic cuisine I grew up with in southern California. I don’t think I’ve ever had chilaquiles though, I’m pretty sure I’d remember the screams of those shipwrecked sailors as I consumed them.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

NB: links to authors and books here are included as part of an Amazon Affiliate account. If you follow any of them and ultimately make a purchase Amazon rewards me with a few pennies of every dollar.

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One Response to “Eating Authors: Rebecca Gomez Farrell”

Thanks so much for sharing my love of chilaquiles, Lawrence!

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