The FLX FAQs
A semi-regular column in which we nose our way into the minds and kitchens of Finger Lakes foodies.
J. Robert Lennon
J. Robert Lennon is the author of two story collections, Pieces For The Left Hand and See You in Paradise, and seven novels, including Mailman, Familiar and Happyland. He holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Playboy, Granta, The Paris Review, Electric Literature and elsewhere. He has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and his story “The Rememberer” inspired the detective TV series Unforgettable. He co-hosts the podcast Lunch Box, with poet Ed Skoog. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail and The London Review of Books. He lives in Ithaca, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.
Edible Finger Lakes: What is the most interesting thing you always keep in your fridge?
J. Robert Lennon: A bottle of photoemulsion, for making tee shirt silkscreens. In terms of actual food, though, we’ve always got some eggs from our chickens in there, as well as Sriracha, olives and some baby carrots.
EFL: What’s the last meal you cooked for yourself?
JRL: Lately I’m making myself lots of fruit smoothies and also fried eggs accompanied by Miami-style fried tostada that I make out of stale bread. Just now, though, I toasted myself a Wegmans everything bagel and slathered a bunch of cream cheese on it, then ate it in like three minutes while reading Twitter.
JRL: I love the Mercer Hell’s Handle fish spatula, but I wish they made one for lefties. I guess the indispensible thing is our J. A. Henckels 10-inch chef’s knife. I use it many times daily.
EFL: What was the first Finger Lakes wine/beer/spirit you ever tasted?
JRL: I think it was some Wiemer white wine that our realtor gave us when we moved in? It was pretty good. Later, Ithaca Beer Company started up and I really liked their Nut Brown. I still do! These days I’m enjoying the brews at Bandwagon, and Finger Lakes Distilling‘s McKenzie Bourbon.
EFL: What’s the one food you couldn’t live without?
JRL: I’m pretty flexible; there are always new good things to replace foods eliminated by obscure thought experiments. But I would certainly shed more than a tear or two for apples, especially Finger Lakes apples.
Photo courtesy of J. Robert Lennon