Maggie Queeney is the author of settler, winner of the 2017 Baltic Writing Residency Poetry Chapbook Contest, forthcoming from Rabbit Catastrophe Press. Her work can be found in The Cincinnati Review, Bennington Review, Poetry Northwest, Copper Nickel, TYPO, and Conjunctions, among other publications. She reads and writes in Chicago.
Here, she talks about always snacking, totally normal food habits, and who God really is.
On her all-time favorite meal:
I have to admit that I think this question is kind of sad. Or, to be more specific, the idea of one amazing meal that I would have kept as a memory of a pinnacle experience, seems sad, and runs counter to how I think about meals. Part of the magic of eating is the recurrence, the ritual and practice of planning, prepping, creating, and sharing a meal.
On what the light looks like during her favorite meal of the day:
A gray-blue velvety pearl: afternoon moving into night or night switching back into day.
On snacking while writing:
I am always snacking. I’m the type of person who keeps crackers (and cookies and candy and grapes and pretzels) hidden around my person. If I’m ever forced to turn out all my pockets, it will be the grocery version of a clown car.
When I’m writing, I try to stick to snacks that I can eat one-handed, with little interruption: pretzels, potato chips, seaweed snacks, and the like.
On her go-to late-night snack:
God is a cold piece of leftover pizza in the refrigerator. I don’t always have this, as I very, very rarely leave a piece of pizza, even for a few hours, so I usually make do with toast. Toast is simple, but it always makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself (not true, most bread is not very good for you) and decadent (also not true, the bread I buy is usually cheap). I associate toast with staying home sick from school, and also that part of that mother goose poem about the blackbird pie: “The king was in the counting-house/ Counting out his money,/The queen was in the parlor/ Eating bread and honey.” The whole poem is weird and fantastical, and freaked me out as a kid (a pie of live blackbirds: weird and gross). The queen eating bread (almost toast…?) and honey in her parlor was equally mysterious. Neither ever seemed particularly queenly to me before, but here bread and honey was regal, magical. The fact that I could go into the kitchen and eat the same meal as this queen in this insane children’s rhyme gave me, as a very small child, immense pleasure and power.
On her food quirks:
I have many, many habits (most bad, but all beloved). I need to peel every speck of pith off my fruit before I will eat it. I put hot sauce on everything I can. If I like a specific dish at a restaurant, I am physically unable to order anything else ever until the end of time. I’m sure there are many more habits others would find noteworthy/weird, but I can’t think of them now because they are all 100% correct and normal.
On her final meal request:
An oven pizza the area of a kitchen table, covered with hot sauce. I am eating it in my house, at my kitchen table, with every person I have had the honor of feeding, especially those who were not at the time willing or able to eat, and every person who has fed me when I have not been willing or able to eat. With every bite we take, the pizza grows by the size of two more bites. There are many of us, but there is always more pizza, forever and ever, the end.