Eating Authors: Stephanie Mylchreest

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Stephanie Mylchreest

So here’s this cool thing. An unexpected side effect of having a story in Craig Martelle’s The Expanding Universe 5 is that it’s been exposing me to some wonderful writers I didn’t know existed. To make up for that lack I’ve been reaching out and inviting them (as you may have noticed in recent weeks) to share their most memorable meal with you.

FYI, that was your official segue.

This week’s EATING AUTHORS guest comes to your from that same anthology with a sweet tale. Stephanie Mylchreest is the author of the four (so far) book Insularity series, a blending of post-apocalyptic fiction, space opera and dystopia. Think of it as three scoops in a waffle (surely not a sugar) cone. Personally, I’m a little too stressed in real life to read much in this area. That probably just means I’m a wuss, because I know plenty of people who thrive on this kind of thing. If that describes you, and you haven’t previously discovered Steph, congratulations here’s a new series to add to your To Be Read list.

LMS: Welcome, Stephanie. Please tell me about your most memorable meal.

SM: As a new vegan, I had been researching the best vegan restaurants in New York City for months. My husband and I had planned a trip there from Dubai, where we were living at the time, when I was thirty-five weeks pregnant with our first child.

Greenhouse

Dubai was an incredible place to live. Like a mirage, the jagged city skyline rises out of the rolling desert. A huge fourteen-lane highway—Sheikh Zayed Road—slices the city down the middle. Bumper to bumper traffic, ebbing and flowing like a living beast, rushes people along. There are so many faces of Dubai, so many people trying to make a better life for themselves in the glitzy, sand-swept metropolis.

Stepping off the plane into busy John F. Kennedy Airport was intense. As we joined the monstrous line of people, the woman in uniform smiled at me, “Come over here, you can join the priority line.” So my huge, protruding belly ushered us through the immigration queue, and soon we were in our yellow taxi racing towards the city. After being in the monochrome desert, the vitality and color of Manhattan was a welcome change.

We rented a charming apartment in the middle of Greenwich Village, chasing the New York life for the sliver of time we were there. We were so close to the beating heart of the city, we could feel the vibrations from the subway each time a train barreled past. And just a few doors down from our window, in 1963, Bob Dylan took that famous walk with Suze Rotolo for the cover of Freewheelin’.

Glasshouse

We sought out the most interesting vegan cafes and restaurants I could find. “There’s an ice cream parlor we have to go to on the Lower East Side.”

“There isn’t a closer one?”

“This one is supposed to be epic!”

My husband, ever the good sport, traipsed all over Manhattan with me, searching out Italian hoagie, crispy fried not-chicken, cashew nut mac ‘n’ cheese… the dishes and places I’d spent months dreaming about. We ate the most incredible food, vegan or otherwise, that I’ve ever tasted.

But what was the most memorable meal from that trip?

Hothouse

Jet lag hit us hard. I blame the pregnancy exhaustion. I’m not sure what my husband’s excuse was. Whatever the cause, by 5 p.m. each day we were sprawled on our bed, the curtains drawn, snoring to the ambient sounds of the Village below.

Early to sleep means early to rise, and for the city that never sleeps, finding something for breakfast at 4 a.m. was surprisingly difficult. And this leads to the most memorable meal on our gastronomic tour of New York City.

There we were: 5 a.m., the corner of 6th Avenue and Waverly. A Starbucks filled with bleary-eyed customers on their way home from the night before. My husband and I holding hands across the sticky table, my belly pressed against the edge, our son wriggling and kicking inside. A flimsy plastic spoon in my hand, a small cardboard tub of creamy oats in front of me.

He smiled as he passed the packet of brown sugar, “Do you want the fruit and nuts?”

“Yes, please.” It was sweet, warm, and perfect. A moment, a meal, seared forever in my memory.

Thanks, Stephanie. Oats. There’s something primal and comforting. Whether you doctor it with honey or sugar, butter or salt, fruit or nuts, or just slurp up plain, it satisfies and fortifies. But next time, try the groats!

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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