Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised “ghost.” They are the author of Salt is for Curing (Sator Press) & My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press), and a poetry editor at Anthropoid. Find them by saying their name five times in front of a bathroom mirror or online.
Here, they talk about Seattle dogs, not being a snacker, and the atrocity of runny egg whites.
On their all-time favorite meal:
Free food at work. It doesn’t even matter what it is, though I do prefer salami sandwiches and bavarian creme donuts.
I spent most of my 20s being ridiculously underpaid at tech start-ups while paying rent on a studio apartment so I’ve got this STORE IT FOR THE WINTER mentality with free food. By “store it for the winter,” I mean eat it.
On what the light looks like during their favorite meal of the day:
It’s sunny as fuck and warm and I’m sitting outside. I live in Seattle so this happens for me like once a year. I am drinking a carafe of white wine because I’m fancy.
On snacking while writing:
I’m not really a snacker—my mom says it’s a Russian thing, like first that’s a weird surplus of food and second if you’re hungry eat a fucking meal, what the fuck is a snack, do you have commitment issues? I do eat meal-sized portions of snack foods, though. Does that count?
I like those white cheddar bunny-shaped crackers but mostly I don’t keep snacks in my house because I’ll eat half a box for dinner and get a stomachache or something. I do drink wine pretty much every second I’m home, though. I always have wine on hand when I’m writing. Except when I’m out of wine in which case I hopefully have whiskey.
On their go-to late-night snack:
So for me the “hunger at the end of the day” hits at like 4pm. I like to eat dinner right when I get home from work; eating late at night kind of stresses me out unless I’ve gone dancing or something in which case Seattle dogs—are those a thing outside of Seattle? You can get them at any hotdog stand here: it’s a hotdog with cream cheese and grilled onions. If I’m hungry and at home though I’ll probably just eat a granola bar. I keep boxes of granola bars and cheese sticks in my kitchen for when I’m starving but don’t want to cook which is 99 percent of the time with the one percent being me making duck breast with birch-smoked salt or something.
On their food quirks:
All my food habits are pretty standard I think. I do get very, very angry at runny egg whites. Especially with poached eggs. That’s just not ok. Please don’t do this.
On their final meal request:
Wait, am I dying? That kind of last meal? I’m probably too stressed out about dying to eat anything. Am I being executed or is this the kind of hypothetical like “I want to die during sex because that seems nice”—also is this a painful death or what? I have a really bad digestive system response to stressors. My favorite thing to eat when I’m stressed is either a fancy sushi roll or a box of macaroni and cheese depending on whether it’s the “cure it with food” kind of stress, which dying isn’t. For me personally, anyway.