Eating Authors: Sunny Moraine

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Sunny Moraine

And lo, after a week off, EATING AUTHORS is back. Again, apologies for the hiatus, but as nearly all authors know, deadlines, like rules, are made to be broken, and that’s pretty much what happened here. But that’s all in the past and we’re all about the future (except when we’re doing alternate history) so let’s move forward.

Our guest this week is small press author Sunny Moraine, who learned her craft by writing erotica before turning her hand to science fiction and fantasy. Which is not to say she’s turned her back on writing erotica, as her new novel, Labyrinthian (due out in January) so clearly demonstrates.

If you’re not familiar with her work, you might want to begin with Crowflight, the first volume in her Casting the Bones fantasy trilogy, or delve into some compelling nonfiction (she’s finishing her doctorate in Sociology) in her essay collection A Brief History of the Future. But before you click on any of those links, take a moment to learn about her most memorable meal.

LMS: Welcome, Sunny. What stands out in your mind as your most memorable meal?

SM: My most memorable meal is actually two meals that stand as one in my mind because of where and how – and why – they happened.

Labyrinthian

In 2010 my husband and I went on our honeymoon. We took two weeks at the end of June and in the beginning of July to drive up the west coast – from San Francisco to Seattle. We made it our business not to rush but to see as many beautiful things as we could along the way, and we did, because of course that part of the country is absolutely choked with beauty (for my husband’s photos and the blog-narrative I wrote, see here).

Early in the trip as we traveled north of the Bay Area, we naturally took a route through some of Northern California’s wine country. We stayed a couple of nights with a relative in Santa Rosa and then traveled on to see some of the local wineries. One of these was a small, family-owned place with the porch of its primary estate building overlooking the vineyards. We did a tasting, bought a bottle, then drank it on the porch in the sun and ate some cheese, fruit, and bread that we’d bought before setting out for the day. It was an incredibly simple meal but there was something so rich about it, so sensual – in the literal meaning of the word. It was one of the few times in my life where I’ve truly taken a moment to taste what I’m eating, and to appreciate it in its context – the loveliness of the place with its rows of green vines and its hill topped with an immense old tree, and my husband sitting beside me.

A Brief History of the Future
Crowflight

From there we moved on to another vineyard’s main tourist location, where we went in for the wine-food pairing option on their tasting menu. In and of itself, it didn’t really seem like a meal – the portions were very small, as were the glasses of wine. But there had to be something like five parts in the main menu, with two additional parts for dessert. The food was exquisitely prepared – Kobe beef lettuce wraps, lamb and cherries on skewers, caramel popcorn, caviar, the flavors sharp and smooth in equal measure. It was considerably more elaborate than our early lunch at the previous winery, but there was the same sense of presence in the moment, the same desire to linger over everything and appreciate everything it offered, because of who I was with and why we were there together.

In the end it was just one perfect day out of so many that trip, but it’s something I’ve never forgotten in part because it helped set the tone for everything that followed – the enjoyment of the moment, the abandonment of worrying about the future or dwelling on anything in the past. I’ve had other fantastic meals before it and since then, but none so very close to my heart. I keep hoping we’ll go back there (we live on the mid-Atlantic coast). Hopefully they’ve kept a plate warm for us, and the wine chilled.

Thanks, Sunny. I think you’ve nailed the essence of the thing: it’s all about taking that moment, being truly mindful of it, appreciating and enjoying it in its totality, both for itself and its relation to everything around it.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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