Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (2016) and A House of Many Windows (2013), both from Sundress Publications. Her poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in Rhino, Tinderbox Poetry, Poet Lore, Sugar House Review, Waxwing, Whale Road Review, and many other journals. Her third full-length collection is forthcoming from Sundress in 2020.
Here, she talks about birthday dinners, “sometimes foods”, and wanting to be rid of the egg on a burger.
On her all-time favorite meal:
When I was young, my family had a tradition where my mother would allow us to choose every aspect of dinner for our birthdays. She made a sort of chicken in gravy (kind of like a pot pie filling without all the veggies in it, but better) that was my favorite thing to eat over mashed potatoes. Considering that my birthday is in late June and this dish required cooking the chicken low and slow in a house without air conditioning, it was truly an act of love. Green bean casserole and a German chocolate cake would round things out, but that chicken…I’ve never been able to replicate it.
On what the light looks like during her favorite meal of the day:
Muted and dusky and near dark, filtered through trees. I love watching the sun go down through the kitchen/dining room windows while I’m cooking dinner, especially if it’s chilly and I’m roasting something with the smells wafting through the house. I like the feeling that both the light and the meal, when “finished,” signal the end of a day.
On snacking while writing:
Sometimes. If I’m on retreat or spending the day writing, which is rare, then my go-to writing snack is cheese and olives, maybe some salami. I like to graze all day instead of eating meals if I’m really writing, and I prefer savory things. However, since most of my writing is done in stolen moments or while multi-tasking, snacks are impractical—it’s much more important that I have a constantly full cold drink of some sort—iced tea, water, Diet Coke if I need the caffeine.
On her go-to late-night snack:
Popcorn. I love popcorn! We always have microwave popcorn on hand, and I also like kettle corn or Chicago Mix (cheese and caramel). Crunchy, salty, sometimes sweet, and not completely horrible for me, it is my favorite nighttime snack. (If I allowed myself to have ice cream in the house, that would win, but as I get older, keeping it in the house is dangerous as I have no willpower. It is now a “sometimes food,” as I learned from Cookie Monster.)
On her food quirks:
There are certain foods I dislike due to their texture, even though their flavor doesn’t bother me—sausage and mushrooms are the two that people usually are most surprised by. I also don’t like it when restaurants put an egg on my food—get that egg off my burger, off my salad. If I want an egg, I’ll eat an egg! I also do not like the flavor of coffee and do not ever drink it despite its wonderful smell.
On her final meal request:
I don’t think the what or the where are as important as who I would be with. I would want to be with my husband and my son somewhere comfortable, probably in our home. My son is a very good cook, and I would ask him to make roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes, his choice of sides and some sort of chocolate dessert. (He always comes up with things that are creative and delicious.) I would lay in a blanket and watch a favorite movie with them as it cooked, maybe Star Wars or Harry Potter. A roast was a luxury when I was growing up, so to me, it is the ultimate symbol of family and celebration and something special. If I had that, and them beside me, that would be a last meal to make me content.