Happy Wednesday and welcome to a brand new monthly feature in partnership with Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard’s Cooking the Books Podcast!
Here at the extension kitchen, we have bonus Q&A content and an audio snippet!
The Book Smugglers: A. The world(s) you created are completely unlikely anything I have ever read with incredible worldbuilding and imaginative warfare. One thing that remains pretty much recognizable: the food that your characters eat. Can you talk a bit about it?
Yoon Ha Lee:
I like having the food my characters eat be foods that I have eaten and loved; otherwise why bother? I was born in Texas and love many American foods; my dad’s from South Korea but he learned to grill a mean steak from his colleagues! That being said, I grew tired of military sf or space opera where the food, if recognizably terrestrial in origin, was basically all Western all the time. So I like to sometimes mix it up with various foods I ate in Korea, or that my mom would make, or Asian foods that I encountered once I went to college and beyond, and got to explore restaurant offerings.
The Book Smugglers: What’s your favorite food scene from (an SFF) movie, tv show, or book? (e.g. Imaginary Food becomes Real Food morphs into Food Fight in ’90s classic, HOOK)
Yoon Ha Lee:
Oh, this one’s easy! I can’t remember which of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books–it might have been Dragonsong or Dragonsinger–but the one where Menolly meets Piemur at Harper Hall and he introduces her to “bubbly pies.” I used to have a Pern book, maybe The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern, that had a recipe, but unfortunately my copy was destroyed in a flood before I got to try it out! Also, I’m terrified of making pie crust. I’ve only ever made strawberry-rhubarb pies using store-bought crust. But I hope to someday try the recipe; it seems to be online.
The Book Smugglers: Let’s play Marry/Kiss/Kill, but with food. (e.g. Marry: Thanksgiving Turkey/Kiss: McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets/Kill: EGGS.)
Yoon Ha Lee:
Marry: I guess it’d have to be something reasonably nutritionally complete, so I can’t say Korean tangerines (gyul)! Let’s say Pad Thai.
Kiss: There’s a restaurant in my husband’s home town, that makes this delightful dessert described as “Thai donuts in powdered sugar with vanilla cream.” It’s probably as well that I only get to have it once or twice a year!
Kill: Mushrooms! I know a lot of people like them (sorry, Mom!) but I can’t deal with the texture.
And here is the audio clip teaser of A Book Smugglers Question(TM):
Go over to the main kitchen to check out the full episode to listen to the whole interview!