Eating Authors: Stephanie L. Weippert

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Categories: Plugs
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Stephanie L. Weippert

I’m a bit saddened this week, because my plans to travel to Utah recently derailed and I will not be in attendance at this year’s NASFiC (aka SpikeCon), and as I think I indicated earlier, I won’t be in Dublin for the Worldcon either. But it’s probably just as well, the travel I did in May resulted in major disruptions in my writing process, and while I did manage to get back on that horse midway through June, I have lots of lost time to make up for.

Which is no kind of segue at all to introduce you to Stephanie L. Weippert, this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. Like many writers who are trying to make ends meet (at least until that big movie deal comes a-knocking), Stephanie has a Patreon page. I have one too, and last month, out of the blue, Stephanie put up a post on Twitter listing several authors’ Patreons and encouraged her followers to show some love/support. And she included me in that list. Well, I was blown away, and it seemed only right to return the favor and ask her to show up here and talk about her most memorable meal.

I don’t know much about Stephanie, though we have a common origin. If she is to be believed, her writing began with a story about a slug, for a convention whose mascot was a slug. Whereas, back in 8th grade, one of the very first things I wrote (this would have been for Mrs. Brunk’s English class, for any Culver City Junior High alums) was a short story entitled something like “When Slugs Took Over of the World.” To Mrs. Brunk’s horror, I followed it with “Return of When Slugs Took Over of the World” and even “Son of When Slugs Took Over of the World.” And, a few years later, at UC Santa Cruz’s (now vanished) College Five, I was the editor of the Graphic Stories Guild, which put out All Slug Comics. And I tell you these things because the world is really a small place, and coincidence is just the universe’s way of laughing at us.

LMS: Welcome, Stephanie. What do you remember as your best meal?

SLW: The best meal I remember, isn’t really one meal; it’s my birthday dinners. I grew up in Eastern Washington cattle country, which means my parents bought a whole beef every year and we had steaks regularly growing up. Dad got into grilling the steaks during the summer and he got damn good at it.

Road to Chaos

Anyway, my family lets the person pick out what they want for dinner as their ‘birthday meal’ and every year I ask Dad to barbeque T-bone steaks for me. He’s happy to do it, too. Mom makes salad and baked potatoes to go with it so we get our vegetables; it’s one of my favorite memories growing up.

As usual, on my birthday this year I asked for the same thing, so when I parked in my parent’s driveway I could smell the mouth-watering scent of steaks cooking on my dad’s grill. That delicious smell of fire cooked marbled beef can make your mouth water from a block away. Most times, I’ve noticed that not long after Dad starts grilling, neighbors start up their grills, too. It’s got to be that deliciousness wafting over the fence. Right?

Everyone’s on the back deck, so I walk in the open door and through the house to the sliding glass door. Dad gives me a hug when I step out on the deck. “Got T-bones like you wanted.”

“Thanks, Dad,” I reply. “They smell wonderful.”

Sweet Secrets

I get a Pepsi and find a seat out on the deck with everybody else. We catch up on family gossip and funny anecdotes since we saw each other last. Not long after this the steaks are done, so we gather in the kitchen for squeaky-clean plates to bring to Dad next to the grill. After we receive the ‘blessings’ from the grill, we return to the kitchen to fill up the rest of our plate. Mom cuts one of the huge baked potatoes in half, and asks me if I want the other half as I pile two or three types of fresh crisp lettuce, shaved carrots, tiny chunks of turnips, and shredded cheese into my salad bowl. Hungry, I shake my head and answer, “No thanks, I want a whole one.” When Mom moves over to the butter dish I stab a whole potato from the platter with my fork and move it to my plate.

Our plates full, we gather around the glass top ‘outside’ table to eat. Jokes and funny stories fill the deck with laughter and happy voices. About the time I’m ready to take my plate back inside, Mom asks “Who’s ready for birthday cake?”

“What kind?” my son asks.

“Chocolate ice cream, of course,” I tell him. “The best kind.”

“At least it’s chocolate,” Mom declares. “Not white or yellow. Birthday cakes are supposed to be chocolate.”

Desperation

“As long at it’s cake,” my uncle declares. “It’s all good.”

Mom goes inside to cut the cake, while her younger sister helps.

They bring out slices on saucers and when Mom hands me mine I get my birthday card too. I open it to read sweet mushy sentiments that make me feel loved.

“Thanks,” I say, trying not to choke up on reading things I wish I had heard growing up.

“Welcome,” Mom answers. “I made sure to get a mushy one instead of a funny one like everyone else.”

“Count your blessings,” my aunt declares. “At least she didn’t dress as death for your birthday and give you a older than the hills card like she did for me.”

“That’s because you are older than the hills,” I reply with a smirk.

“Your turn is coming, y’know!” she replies with a laugh.

I stick my tongue out at her. “But you’ll always be older than me. So there!”

We laugh.

Thanks, Stephanie. After reading this, I think I want your uncle’s quote “As long as it’s cake” on a button.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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