Eating Authors: Todd J. Mccaffrey

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Categories: Plugs
Todd J. Mccaffrey

If you’re reading this at or soon after the time it posts on Monday morning, then I’ve likely somehow staggered into the office at the DayJob after a phenomenal but exhausting weekend as one of the GOHs at Confluence in Pittsburgh, PA. Which, of necessity, involved a long car trip to carry me back the roughly 300 miles from the west end of the state to the east, before I could sleep in my own bed last night. This is not a complaint. As I’ve remarked many times before, I think my life is pretty blessed. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment that time is laughing at most of us, and especially so at me, as in two days I leave for my third convention in three weeks.

Meantime though, let’s talk about EATING AUTHORS (you know the first words up there on the top of the page) and more specifically this week’s guest, Todd J. Mccaffrey. It’s a pretty safe bet that you’re familiar with the family name. It’s hard to imagine anyone involved in speculative fiction today who hasn’t read Pern. Todd, quite understandably picked up a lot of his writing skill from working with his mother, and soon was both collaborating on Pern novels, as well as penning a few on his own, and carrying on the family business. He also written a wide range of shorter works. And just this past May branched out with a powerful new novel, City of Angels, an edgy science thriller that asks some very human questions about what it means to be an A.I.

Todd may have started with dragons and thread, but he’s clearly going his own direction with a distinct and powerful voice.

LMS: Welcome, Todd. What can you tell me about your favorite or most memorable meal?

AA: I’m a Taurus: we’re the foodies of the astrological universe. I don’t have one favorite meal: I have many.

City of Angels

I recall with heart-pounding fondness the most marvelous pizza in the universe made by a local Italian couple at their restaurant in Glen Cove, Long Island (we lived in nearby Sea Cliff). The olive oil dripped off it and the smell rose enticingly into the air. The crust was bubbled at the edges, paper-thin in the center, and so crispy that a large slice could support itself. To this day, their regular cheese pizza is the yardstick by which all other pizzas are measured – and found wanting. (I was 9.)

In 1968 I went to my first convention: Lunacon. I was invited to dinner (“and be quiet!”) with a whole horde of luminaries, my mother being Anne McCaffrey. Robert Silverberg was there with his elegant goatee and brilliant-dark eyes. I believe Harlan Ellison was there, too, having earlier impressed me with one-handed pushups. We were at an Italian restaurant and the service was so slow that the only tip left was a penny shoved into a candle.

My mother was an excellent cook so I am spoiled for memories. She was responsible for Thanksgiving dinners that could serve the masses — I think we sat over 20 at a dinner in Sea Cliff. I am proud to say that I have managed to reproduce her marvelous corn-meal dressing.


My father was no slouch himself. He had, however, a bad habit of not knowing when his culinary efforts were less than stellar. I recall the family tales of his infamous mustard soup which he forced everyone to eat (I was too little and don’t remember). On the other hand, he once did a meal of spice-wrapped ham that ranks among the best meals I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten at Spago’s). At the time, this meal recalled to me some of the meal’s I’d had at Trader Vic’s.

A number of times I was a guest with my mother at some of her publisher’s meals. I fondly recall the dinner in den Haag for a Worldcon where I drank a 1940 Armangnac and, later, a marvelous riijstaffel where I gorged on great curries.

At Clarion West in 1992, we discovered a marvelous Ethiopian place. If you’ve never tried the cuisine, you must!

Thanks, Todd. There’s probably a truism there; hard to imagine a meal that isn’t made excellent by the inclusion of a 1940 Armangnac.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!



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