To give that much, so thoughtfully, you have to have a self, well-established, and conscientiously choose to give of it.
Today we feature two stories from Sharp & Sugar Tooth which center around generosity: Erin Horáková's "A Year Without the Taste of Meat" and A. R. Henle's "Strong Meat." But first, a little news!
- Christi Craig has posted a guest post from me on publishing and building community.
- Several of our contributors (Charlotte Ashley, R. S. Benedict, A. T. Greenblatt, Kathryn McMahon, Premee Mohamed, Wendy Nikel, Julie Nováková, Aimee Ogden, and Marie Vibbert) are on a new list at Tor from Alvaro Zinos-Amaro of new SFF writers to watch.
On to our stories!
In her introduction, Octavia Cade writes that, "the fate of ritual and recipe are explored further in . . . “Dear Son” by Joyce Chng [where] they’re used to pass on generosity." We featured Chng's story on June 6th. The idea of food as a cultural mechanism for generosity is woven throughout this collection.
In "Strong Meat," a specialty chef uses sympathetic magic in her meat courses to strengthen her clients' good natures. A.R. Henle writes:
How I got the idea for my story rather resembles the old ad for Reese's peanut butter cups—where the chocolate and the peanut butter bump into each other in the dark and decide to be friends. In my case, however, a couple of other things joined the mix. One day I read some of the slew of articles about mice born from eggs and sperm formed from skin cells. This somehow intersected with celebrity chef culture, then met up with revenge sagas and took a hard turn into horror. There the story elements discovered certain Greek myths and, oddly enough, self-help books. All this mixed together and resulted in a story about "Strong Meat."
In "A Year Without the Taste of Meat," the narrator returns home to share a ritual meal with her ex's new lover to mourn the death of their mutual friend, something that the new lover could have denied to her: "We talked in the kitchen while Lova ground the bone for ash cookies. I felt certain that Ebba had loved Lova for her incredible generosity. That is the right word, rather than selflessness. To give that much, so thoughtfully, you have to have a self, well-established, and conscientiously choose to give of it."
About the Authors
A. R. Henle is an archivist, historian, and librarian (not necessarily in that order). She writes non-fiction by day and fantasy by night—except when story ideas sneak into her head during daylight hours and demand to be written right now.
Erin Horáková is a southern American writer who lives in London. She's working towards her literature PhD, which focuses on how charm evolves over time.