I met Catherine–Cathy–at an erotica reading sponsored by my publisher Riverdale Avenue Books. We became friends that day. She is lovely and warm, and a brilliant writer. I just immediately liked her. Cathy is what I consider the real deal–a writer’s writer. She is a freelance writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Her two novels The El and Different Drummer are treasured additions to my library. Cathy does a monthly poetry reading in Brooklyn where we both live–yet I have failed to attend one! I literally cannot keep up with her! But we did find time to chat with each other on two separate occasions, for our various projects at The Tuscan Gun. Interviewing Cathy did not even feel like work, she is so warm and lovely, and a foodie like me!
You can find out more about Cathy on her website, but here are some bits and pieces from her…and a recipe!
People’s lives are so steeped with sex, and sex decides so much of what we do. It’s part of everything, it’s who we are.
In Different Drummer, I wanted to recapture a time (70s) that I did not want to fade away.
Doing corporate writing, they want you to fit a certain formula, but I did enjoy writing about people. I like telling their stories, figuring out what makes them tick. I still do.
We compartmentalize sex, to the point that we obsess about it. Sex is an organic, vital part of life.
I was interested in porn from a very young age. I would go see porn movies with my boyfriends and say, “I could write that.” And eventually, I did.
After reading The El, my 90 year old Aunt Betty said, “Who would even think that Cathy could think those thoughts!”
I don’t like sitting there, trying to write. Instead, I’ll go do something. In yoga class, I often get ideas for stories—if you get that first line, you’ve got everything.
Food is an expression of love. To me, cooking for somebody is a good way to show you care. The food descriptions in The El can even be considered erotic. Food porn. Someone once told me that reading the book “made me hungry, made me horny.”
This is Cathy’s favorite recipe from The El:
Dom DeLuise’s Roasted Red Peppers*
6-8 red bell peppers
4-6 cloves of garlic, sliced in half (he uses 2)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
(3 tablespoons capers – I leave them out)
Preheat your oven’s broiler. Line a cookie tray with foil. Put washed red peppers on foil and place directly beneath broiler, making quarter turns when skin blisters and blackens, until the entire pepper surface is nicely charred. Remove peppers from oven and lift corners of foil, sealing it tightly around peppers. Cover with thick dishtowel for 30 minutes or more. (My favorite part of the recipe!) Open foil and slit peppers so steam will vent. Cool a few minutes more and peel skin from peppers. Slice into ½ inch wide strips and place in bowl with remaining ingredients. Add a bit of the juice from the peppers. Mix and cover tightly.
Serve on bread, with antipasto or to compliment any dish you like. Tastes best a few days after you make it because all of the subtle flavors have a chance to meld. Lasts a few weeks in the fridge.
*Adapted from his amazing cookbook, “Eat This, It Will Make You Feel Better,” and used with the permission of Dom’s wonderful sister Anne.