Eating Authors: Wendy Nikel

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Wendy Nikel

Yesterday, I was in Detroit. And, to be honest, I might still be there, because I’ve written this a couple days early and for all I know the weather there or here (here being Philadelphia) may have prevented my flight home on Sunday. Or it didn’t, but the plane crashed. Or I was in an accident on the way to the airport in Detroit, or maybe on the way home from the airport in Philly. Or aliens. Yeah, it could have been aliens, scooping me up because they’re bored (hard to do crop circles in this weather). Or, most likley, time travelers. By which I mean, time travelers again (because, duh, time travel). Seriously, what is with you time cops and time thieves and time accountants? Why do you always hassle SF authors? I’d think you’d be on our side, right? But I digress…

Whether I’m here, or not, what you need to focus on is that you have a shiny, new installment of EATING AUTHORS before you, featuring Wendy Nikel, whose first book, The Continuum, comes out tomorrow from World Weaver Press (and is probably the reason I’ve been thinking about time travel, in case you were wondering).

Prior to this book, Wendy’s been writing short stories, including an ongoing series about Juliet Silver, a tea shop server who becomes a fearsome airship pilot, and eventually a fearsome airship pirate! What more could you possibly want?

LMS: Welcome, Wendy. What’s your most memorable meal?

WN: I didn’t realize when asked this question how difficult it would be to come up with an answer. Although cooking isn’t one of my favorite things to do around the house (we probably eat more pizza around here than we ought to), I have a huge appreciation for a good meal, especially when I don’t have to make it or do the dishes afterward.

The Continuum

Because of this, my mind immediately went to some of my favorite restaurants and dinners at friends’ houses, because even an excellent meal can be ruined if the company is bad, and even an awful meal can be improved with good friends. I thought of the times when I was a kid and my grandpa would take us out to eat to celebrate good report cards. I considered the time we piled into my college friend’s car in the middle of the night and drove half an hour to the nearest 24-hour Wendy’s and then ate our cheap fries and Frosties beneath the buffalo sculpture in the park. I remembered the New Year’s Eve parties at my parents’ house, pigging out on leftover Christmas cookies and Lil’ Smokeys mini sausages and nachos.

Perhaps my favorite meal of all, though, was one that I actually did make. In the fall of 2007, my husband and I moved to Ottawa, Ontario for a year-long internship, and we celebrated not only our first Canadian Thanksgiving, but also the first Thanksgiving on our own. Up until this point, we’d always lived near family, and the most I’d brought to the table had been some pumpkin pies. But that year, we knew we wouldn’t be able to make the trip back for the holidays, so when October rolled around, I started plotting the ultimate Canadian Thanksgiving. It was my first time making a turkey, and I planned for weeks to make sure that we’d have all of our favorite Thanksgiving foods, right down to the chocolate and mint pies that my siblings and I usually made.

018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide

I bought the ingredients and spent all day cooking and baking — with a few long-distance phone calls to my mom to check to make sure I was doing it right. And when it was done, it was perfect. The turkey was golden, the potatoes were fluffy and buttery and delicious, and the pies were just right. It was like a little bit of home, despite being far away. Just that ritual of setting the table and sitting down to enjoy all that delicious, familiar food made our new home feel not so far away from our loved ones.

I didn’t know at the time, but this would be good practice for years later when we moved out west and once again had the holidays to ourselves. This year, for the first time since we moved here, my sister and her family are coming to visit for Thanksgiving, and I’m looking forward to once again gathering around the table with dishes made from the same recipes we’ve enjoyed since we were children, passing down this tradition to the next generation.

Thanks, Wendy. Thanksgiving seems to be one of those holidays where everything is perfect or the napalm is flying. I don’t think there’s any middle ground. I’m still a little shaken from the one just passed, my first without turkey. Seemed so wrong.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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