(When) Where was your most memorable meal?
It’s hard to pick. There’s a sushi place in downtown L.A. and they flash-fry tiny crabs and then put them all over edible styrofoamy hair and they’re so light and delicious and fun to pluck off. I remember an apple from eighth grade that tasted like pure caramel and I couldn’t get over it. I spent a year abroad in France and would get the baguettes from the corner bakeries, plus a slab of cheese, and it was glorious!
What is your favorite restaurant?
I have so many! Top three of right this moment, in L.A.: O!Burger, which makes organic burgers and great fries, a kind of green-style fast food joint. Itacho, which has the best little Japanese tapas and is consistently delicious. Osteria Mozza, where I had some kind of breadcrumb pasta with tomato, something that was refreshing and comforting at the same time.
Are there any foods that you find yourself craving regularly?
Usually salty foods. Hamburgers, hot dogs, olives, string cheese; occasionally fruit: plums, peaches, papaya.
Is there a favorite food you can’t get where you currently live?
Not really—L.A. is pretty well stocked. But still— pizza in NY is a whole different experience.
If you could invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?
Today’s group: Virginia Woolf, because I’d love to hear what she’d have to say about pretty much anything. Beethoven, because I would just like to be in the same room. Alexander Calder, because apparently he would make sculptures under the table during dinner and give them as jewelry to his guests.
If money was no object, what would your food splurge be?
What’s your favorite literary food scene?
I just read A Moveable Feast and there was a passage about the tiny trout they ate, maybe even from the Seine? which is unthinkable now and I was very envious. Sounded delicious.
What’s your specialty in the kitchen?
I have been complimented a few times on my vinaigrette. Which is small but took awhile to figure out!
What food is better at home than out at a restaurant?
Soups, especially chicken soups.
What food do you wish you could cook at home?
Sushi. And I read a New Yorker piece about monks who made tofu in Japan and it sounded so alluring and otherworldly and gentle.
Aimee Bender is an American novelist and short story writer, known for her surreal plots and characters. Her work has been nominated for the Tiptree and Shirley Jackson awards as well as having won two Pushcart prizes. Her most recent novel is The Unbearable Sadness of Lemon Cake.