Mary Biddinger’s most recent poetry collection is A Sunny Place with Adequate Water (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Green Mountains Review, jubilat, The Laurel Review, and Pleiades, among others. She teaches poetry writing and literature at the University of Akron, where she edits the Akron Series in Poetry. Biddinger is the recipient of a 2015 NEA creative writing fellowship in poetry.
Here, she reveals a love of Cheetos, dreams of endless sushi, and a desire for generously frosted angel food cake.
On late-night ramen:
My favorite meal is a composite of wee-hours ramen fests involving fried eggs, hot sauce, whatever veggies were available in the fridge, and plenty of butter. When I was in grad school we would call it the late night kitchen. Also necessary to this dining experience would be blasting of The Velvet Underground, and cats stampeding through the apartment. In the best instances, the food would be just as good as the experience of making it, often followed by, “Well, if this creative writing thing doesn’t work out, we can always open a noodle shop.”
On food dreams:
Nowadays I am usually asleep by 10 pm, so no late night snacks for me. I do dream of food often, however. My favorite dreams are the ones where there is endless sushi.
On the relaxation of dinner:
Breakfast and lunch are usually quick and accompanied by reading or other distractions (newspaper! administrative emails!), but dinner is when the whole family hangs out and slows down. I cook for my kids almost every night of the week.
On snacking while writing:
I like to snack on something zesty, crunchy, and relatively non-messy when writing. Favorites include sriracha cashews and wasabi peas. I’m finicky about keyboard tidiness, but firmly believe that flavorful snacks can wake the creative brain.
On guilty pleasures:
Cheetos. Oh, Cheetos. I don’t think I tried Cheetos until I was an undergraduate. There has been no turning back. Forgive me, nutrition gods. They are just so good.
On food quirks:
I have been known to eat raw, washed spinach out of the bag, like potato chips. Don’t judge! It’s pretty good.
On her final meal request:
My last meal would need to begin with a tray of vegetarian lumpia. Next, I would like as much sushi as one can possibly fathom, with super fresh avocado. Finally, a piece of angel food cake, generously frosted. Maybe two pieces, because why not?