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In a Jam: The Cheese Made Me Do It

Ice Queen Interviews Roseanna Alice Boswell

Purchase Roseanna's book, Hiding in a Thimble, from Haverthorn Press today!

Ice Queen: I'm trying to think of where we should start because I have more questions now than when I spoke with Remi. Poor Remi! He was the tester.

Roseanna: He said it was great though!

Ice Queen: Well that's good! Hmm... Well, let's start where I've started with everybody! So tell me about your piece. Tell me about "Lizzo Eating Out the Center of a Burrito is Feminist Discourse.™"

Roseanna: Yeah! That poem was so much fun to write. I don't know if you've seen the video, but I wrote it really shortly after I watched it. Cause I was just like scrolling through Tik-Tokk, as one does, you know, and came across it.

And I was like, I literally can't stop watching her eat this burrito. And it just started making me think about it. I'm always kind of thinking about the way that food is sexualized the way we talk about it, who eats it, and how people eat it.

And I feel, particularly, advertisements like to sexualize the way women eat food— but it's always very heterocentric, very male gaze focused. And I felt like this video was this totally other thing, you know? So I just— I couldn't get out of my head! And I thought, This has to be a poem. I can't stop thinking about this until I write about it.

Ice Queen: Yeah, definitely it's very— I wouldn't say not sexual, the video, I would say if anything, it is just not intended to draw attention to the lips closing over the tip of [makes burrito holding motion] you know? With advertisements, it's always just the motion and this is: No, we're going to fucking eat this thing!

Roseanna: And it feels like that's a real move towards agency, right? So often I feel like, in commercials, where they show women having their lips closing over something, they're sort of reduced to objects at that moment. Because the focus is on the thing that they're eating and not them as people. And so this was like, no, like this is sexual, but it's about me and I don't know. Yeah. But I just, that flip shouldn't be revolutionary, but it is, or it was for me.

Ice Queen: I just love it because, I mean, it is just a really smart way to eat a burrito at the same time!

Roseanna: Yeah! So practical, right?

Ice Queen: I don't know if I'd ever actually do it though, 'cause I, you know, I have patterns. I have the way that I do a thing. So I don't know if I'd ever change it, but I'm not mad at it!

Roseanna: I know, I haven't tried it, but I should, like, I should try this then. But I too am a creature of habit. So I don't know if I ever will.

Ice Queen: So what did you love most about writing this poem?

Roseanna: I think just being able to inhabit this really playful space was a lot of fun. I feel like recently, especially a lot of the poetry I've been writing has been very serious. And I think it's... it's partially a product of things going on in my old life, but also the pandemic. Right? And there's been a lot of tragedy and loss and I had very much felt that effect on my poetry, but I felt like this poem was just Fun. This was just Play to write this and yeah, I think that was probably my favorite part if that makes sense.

Ice Queen: Yeah no, definitely. I love playful poetry. I feel like so many people sort of stray away from Play in poetry. And I think it's so important to include that as well.

Roseanna: Yeah, I agree!

Ice Queen: What would you say is your relationship to food in your writing?

Roseanna: That's a great question. I feel like I write about food a lot actually because I think I think about food a lot. And also because, as a fat woman, I write about the body a lot and how I feel in my own skin, but also how I interact with the world and how the world interacts with fat bodies. And so because of that, I think, I think about food a lot. And that kind of comes into my poetry.

And a lot of the time I like to write about food in this kind of playful way or pleasurable way. Right? But, I think because my poetry is so much to do with the body, it also inherently has so much to do with what we consume and how we consume it. And also how inherently different public versus private eating is— I have poems about eating out in public and the waiter switching your meal with your thin date. Things like that, but also just the food that you like to eat at home and what that relationship is like.

Ice Queen: I love that because now I'm curious in the general sense, How does your eating at home differ from eating out at a restaurant? And I guess I've never really thought that that's sort of where those weird food combinations really get to exist! What's your weirdest creation at home then?

Roseanna: Oh, I love that! I feel like this isn't that adventurous, but because of the pandemic (and just being home all the time) I started doing a lot more cooking and it just became this thing where everything goes in a bowl!

Like everything can be a bowl, any meal. And it's basically, I think I got that from somebody on Facebook, actually, she was like, You put an egg on it and everything is breakfast. And I was like, Oh, that's so true. You're right! And so it just became this thing of, Okay, what, what do I have in my fridge that's going to go in a bowl? And usually, I always have leftover rice in my fridge because you have to, you have to have rice around all the time. So leftover rice and then whatever protein stuff I have around. I eat vegetarian, so that's usually some sort of beans. And then just like any weird leftover thing I can find — leftover veggies, leftover whatever! And then of course with hot sauce and cheese on it, usually. You have to!

Ice Queen: Of course, I mean cheese is an addictive substance. So you have to, literally.

Roseanna: You literally must! I know. I keep thinking about going vegan because I really appreciate the way that it's good for the planet. And then I'm like but cheese. I can't do it. Never eat cheese again?

And I've tried the vegan cheeses and they're like the ghost of cheese. I appreciate what they're doing, but it's not the same.

Ice Queen: It's one of those things where I have to wonder— if some scientists claim that cheese is actually addictive, is it, then, the cheese inside of your brain that is telling you that the vegan cheese is not as good?

It's all a big conspiracy by Cheese! It's just the remnants of it telling you. It's not me. It's not as good as me.

Roseanna: I would not be surprised to learn that I have a cheese control center in my brain. That's just up there, saying "You know what'd be good? Some cheese." [Both laugh]

Ice Queen: Yeah. When I was younger, I used to get the Kraft cubes of cheese.

I would just devour the whole thing—like this was meant to feed 10, 15 people. Nope. It was just me.

Roseanna: It was just an Ice Queen size serving of cheese.

Ice Queen: Speaking of weird food combinations. My mom always ate— Not always, I shouldn't say always this wasn't like something she ate every single week— but she and my brother would get the Carl Buddig— I don't know if you ever got it growing up. Ultra-thin, super cheap cuts of deli meat— corned beef on peanut butter sandwiches.

Roseanna: [Laughs] I love food nostalgia.

Ice Queen: It was awful. The only thing worse to me is she loves a potted meat sandwich, that she'll mix up with mayonnaise and then just eat on bread.

Roseanna: When I was growing up the weird thing— I still like it to this day, but every time I tell people, they're like, oh my God gross— my mom and dad actually used to make us scrambled egg and peanut butter sandwiches. [Pause]

And it sounds gross. Like I see your reaction!

Ice Queen: ...

Roseanna: Well, like, I don't know. It's so good. It's like this protein punch. If you're ever just really starving, you toast the bread so the peanut butter gets a little melty and then you put scrambled eggs on it. I don't know. I feel like if I didn't grow up eating it though, I would be like, Hm, gross. Why?

Ice Queen: See, those are the things that you could only do at home.

Roseanna: Yeah! 'Cause I'm not going to go to a diner and be like, could you please make me a scrambled egg and peanut butter sandwich?

Ice Queen: And I feel like, unless you're going to some hoity-toity place, you're also not going to go to a diner and waste $5 on something that you've never had before.

In a diner experience, you're going for what you know. Most people aren't going to go in there and be like, well I'm going to try everything on this menu. You go in you know what you're getting.

I could see the eggs and peanut butter more than I can see the corned beef because I've had the corned beef and peanut butter. So I've actually tried it. It's not good.

Roseanna: What kind of peanut butter? Like smooth peanut butter? [Ice Queen nods] Okay. I don't know what I was expecting.

Ice Queen: I only eat smooth. I don't like peanuts unless they're boiled or in peanut butter.

Roseanna: That's fair. Yeah, peanuts are kind of gritty, which I never expect. I love peanut butter and boiled peanuts are great, but every once in a while I'll just be eating peanuts and I'll be like, Hmm, this is not hitting right today.

Ice Queen: It's not my go-to nut for snacks.

Okay. Segue from the weird. Well, I guess it doesn't have to segue depending on your answer. What is your favorite food show?

Roseanna: I really love The Great British Baking Show. The food is always so pretty. And also British food is a mystery to me. Like they're always, what is the word that they use? I never know what it is. They use it and it means something different every time. It's not pie, but it's like...

Ice Queen: Oh, pudding?

Roseanna: Yes! Thank you. That was going to kill me. Yes! They say pudding and I'm like, what's it going to be a dessert? Something with venison in it? Who knows, but I'm gonna watch and find out in this beautiful countryside tent, like TRULY escapism at its best.

Ice Queen: My husband studied in England while he was an undergrad for a semester. And he was so confused when he saw waffles on the ~pudding menu~ and he said, "Why are waffles under pudding?" And someone said, "Oh that's right, you have waffles for breakfast in America. We have them for pudding."

It kind of broke his brain like, "No, you have waffles for waffles and pudding for pudding!" And finally, they understood the mixup. What we call pudding they call Angel Delight.

Roseanna: Oh! Lovely.

Ice Queen: Yeah. I mean I would never call that Angel's Delight. Pudding fits the form of it and the texture. I would never eat it and think, oh, angels eat this! They were wrong about that one, but that's okay.

I love GBBO too. What I love is that the food is very pretty, but it's very pretty in a real way.

Roseanna: Yes.

Ice Queen: It's like, I believe that you did that in that amount of time. Cause it doesn't look perfect. I follow some of them on Instagram as well and you can see the difference between I had several days to do this versus I had six hours to do this.

Roseanna: And everybody's always so like nice on that show. Like the contestants are nice to each other. I feel like in American reality TV, contestants are always talking about how much they hate each other offscreen, you know, but I feel like they're all just, we're all like having a good time in the tent! And that's so wholesome!

Ice Queen: I spoke to Remi about it but I don't know if you've watched School of Chocolate?

Roseanna: I have not.

Ice Queen: Oh my God. It is also very wholesome! Lovely. It is a competition, but no one gets kicked out.

Roseanna: I love that.

Ice Queen: It's an actual school. So they're there to learn from Amauri. And he's just this like master pastry chef and chocolatier.

I don't know if you've ever seen any of his videos. He goes viral on Facebook probably about once every month for doing these chocolate sculptures like gigantic sculptures out of chocolate of like pterodactyls or he'll do a little thing where we see him make like a perfume bottle, but then he cuts into it and it's actually a pastry.

And it's not that it looks “real” (even though it does). That's not the draw of it. It's that you watched him throughout this entire process of making it. You know it's not what it looks like you’re seeing him cut into. It’s the process that’s amazing. And it looks like it tastes very good. That's always the most important thing to me when I see someone cut into a cake. Sometimes it's a GOTCHA like— "It's not really a raw chicken breast! It's a cake!" And I'm like, I don't want to eat raw chicken breast. And I don't want to eat something that looks like raw chicken breast, especially when the cake part of it is about *this big* [pinches fingers close] and the rest of it is just fondant.

Roseanna: Yeah. Have you seen the Netflix show Is it Cake?

Ice Queen: I refuse to watch it because I saw so many people saying you don't get to see them making the cake really. You just see the product and it's just about the guests. And I don't care about the guests I care about the cake.

Roseanna: No, it was truly the worst Remi and me, we had a really bad day, I don't even remember what happened, but I was just like, There are no thoughts in my brain and I need to watch the only, that's just like nothing, like no plot, just like pure fluff. And so we watched an episode. They had a fast food challenge. Taco cake or something. And I was like, this is ridiculous.

Ice Queen: There's another fantastic show. I'm trying to remember what it's called. I can't even remember if I talked about this with Remi. Probably not, I tried not to ramble on, because I know he doesn't like cooking shows.

Roseanna: Every once in a while, I'll get him to watch GBBO with me, but I know he's just doing it to be nice. Like he's like, it's so boring. They're just cooking. I don't get it.

Ice Queen: When he said it made him angry.

Roseanna: Because he gets mad when he gets bored! And I'm like, that is insane to me because when I was growing up, my mom and my grandmother would always be like only boring people are bored. So very much from a very early age that was drilled into me. You were not allowed to be bored, you will find something to do!

But I think we had very different philosophies about boredom growing up. So now, when he gets bored, he's like, oh, I'm just annoyed now. Cause I'm bored.

Ice Queen: That would be like my constant state of being then. Not that it isn't already, I'm probably mad at least 30% of the day over nothing. So I don't know. I guess I get it. [Both laugh]

I found the show it's called Baking Impossible.

Roseanna: Oh, I'm writing down all these titles.

Ice Queen: It's actually Andrew from GBBO, the engineer. He started this show and it teams up a baker and an engineer, right? Like I see your face and it's—

Roseanna: Immediately!

Ice Queen: Immediately yes! And it's so awesome because they have different challenges in each episode, and the way it's framed, it almost looks like they're all doing this in one day because they wear the exact same clothes, but obviously it's not because some challenges take them 15 hours! Obviously, if you're having to engineer something, it's not as simple. There's one challenge they had to build a car that can withstand a crash, but it has to be almost entirely edible.

So it's sort of like the functionality and the strength of baking, you know teamed up with the deliciousness of it. Cause obviously, you're not going to eat the parts of the car that are strong enough to withstand like a, like a 10-mile-per-hour crash. Cause that would not be pleasant to eat, but you're sort of protecting the part that is good to eat.

Roseanna: Mmm, yeah. That's fascinating!

Ice Queen: I know. And it's almost, for me, I care less about the part that is good to eat. I'm just like yeah, yeah, yeah whatever, like show me the thing. They do a little engineering thing for the first scene of each episode. And then the second scene is when they do the crazier stuff— one time they had to build a mini-golf course that functioned, you know? And I was like, Okay. Yes, take me to this weird Willy Wonka place.

Speaking of like food scenes, what is your favorite animated food scene?

Roseanna: Oh, I love that question. I think probably there's actually a lot. I feel like animated food always looks so good, but I love the scene in Beauty and the Beast, right? Where they're singing "Be Our Guest" and there's all the food dancing. But I remember as a kid being so frustrated that she doesn't actually eat anything, like there's all this food and all she does is get to try the gray stuff because it's delicious, but she doesn't actually eat a meal. There was all that magical food and she didn't eat it. And I was aggrieved— I was like five years old thinking, this is ridiculous!

Ice Queen: She came out of her room 'cause she was so hungry!

Roseanna: Yes. She's so hungry that she ventures out into the castle with a literal beast roaming around and then does not eat anything.

Ice Queen: She had that one, that one finger swipe, and, oh, she was too stuffed. [Both laugh] I guess that's how princesses eat.

Roseanna: I guess so. And that's like a trend on TV shows too. People are just talking about how hungry they are and then they order something and you see them eat one bite, and then they're like, got to go. I realize this is because seeing people eat is not the entertaining part of this. And we're here for the dramatic situation around eating, but I'm like, I kind of want to see people eat or at least show their plate empty or something.

Ice Queen: I mean, I sort of had the same, the same thought with like The Hunger Games when they turned that into a movie. It's like, it's called The HUNGER Games and like so much of it was because people are hungry because of the Capitol And so seeing all of this food for the first time, she like gorged herself on food that was too rich and got sick. Food was supposed to be, and it was in the books, like such a very large part of everything! And then you get to the movie and it's not as important. And I'm like, I wanted to see the food!

I know a lot of people were mad when they cast Jennifer Lawrence in that role because in the book she was short and malnourished. Right. And I support not showcasing that because that's dangerous as a visual, but that doesn't mean you can't show food, you know, healthy girls can be hungry!

Roseanna: And even like, I don't know if you're a Gilmore Girls fan, but I rewatch that periodically. 'Cause it's like one of my comfort shows, even though a lot of jokes have not aged well.

Ice Queen: Yeah. Most shows I feel went back and watch it and I'm like that didn't...that's awful.

Roseanna: Yeah. I know. I'm like, wow, yeah, that's just bad. But, but one of the things I noticed on rewatching this time is food is really central to that show. They are always ordering or eating out or whatever, but you almost never actually see them eat. Like you hear them talking about food a lot and talking about how much they eat, but then these two very thin women, you don't actually see them eating and I'm like, Hmm.

Ice Queen: One of my comfort shows, I don't know if you've ever watched it, is Psych?

Roseanna: Yes! I haven't watched it in years, but yes.

Ice Queen: They talk about food a lot and that's part of what I've always loved. Especially the Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos, that's mentioned a couple of times in the series and it's hilarious that they actually made them.

There is the recipe out there for them and I'm like one day, one day, I'm going to have them.

They don't travel well.

I love it cause you actually do see them eat. I wouldn't say food is central to the show but it's central to their character. That's probably one of my favorite characterizations of food in TV and film— Shawn and Gus and their love and their stinginess towards each other over it.

What is your favorite food scene in a story or book? I feel like it's so much easier to love food on TV because you get to actually see it. I think when it's in a book and you remember it, it must be written really, really well.

Roseanna: I actually have one ready. When you asked about movies, I started thinking about books, and movies too, but I read as a kid, there was this great book called Best Friends for Frances.

She was a little Badger and there are a couple of books about her and the illustrations of food in those books are amazing, like Bedtime for Frances has this cake that you just want to eat it off the page.

In Best Friends for Frances, she goes on this picnic and the picnic is just amazing. And there's like a page where she's telling her friend all the picnic food she brought and I'm like, someday, I'm going to make the Best Friends for Frances picnic and like have all that food because of the food illustration. Top tier. So good.

Ice Queen: Love that! I just saw Bread and Jam for Frances.

Roseanna: Yes, that's another excellent one!

Ice Queen: Oh, I love that. I definitely did not have these books. I had one that I always remember The Berenstain Bears & Too Much Junk Food.

Roseanna: I was obsessed with the Frances books and I had a bread and jam phase, I remember, as a kid cause I wanted to be like Frances. So I would just, whenever my mom would let me, I would just have bread and jam for like snacks or lunch or whatever.

Ice Queen: I had a jam phase as well. I don't know why. I probably just liked sweet, so I went through a similar phase, just not for as cute a reason.

Roseanna: And there's something about jam— it's so beautiful and it like comes in a little glass jar. I always thought there was something kind of magic about it.

Ice Queen: It does seem magical, I dunno what it is, especially if you got it from a person instead of from the store. We'd go to the Strawberry Festival and it was one of my favorite festivals. And it was like all about food. Like they didn't even really have that many rides or anything. There was like a silent auction for like a strawberry cake. And I would have strawberry milkshakes and like strawberry pies and strawberry jam.

And it was just this awesome time as a kid.

Roseanna: Amazing.

Ice Queen: It's still like, I have memories of that strawberry milkshake that are just very visceral. And I never want to go back 'cause I would never want to have it and be like, this isn't as good as I remember. But I also do want to go back because... what if it is as good as or better?

Roseanna: I get that. I definitely get that. The danger of nostalgia, right?

Ice Queen: Yeah. Especially scent. Scent will bring me back to food or time and I'll smell something and be like, this smells exactly like when I was in third grade.

Roseanna: No, it's true. I think smells are so funny. I can remember smells that I feel like I will never like smell again.

Kenner 1991 Baby All Gone Baby Cherries and Spoon

I had this little like magic spoon for my doll.

It was like plastic and green. And it had like a little sliding tray with like cherries on it. And it was supposed to smell like cherries, but it didn't really smell like cherries. It smells like plastic, but I remember that smell and it's probably the only thing in the world that smelled exactly like that.

But like, I remember it like

Ice Queen: Yeah, no, definitely. When I was in third grade. It was this particular, it was like a three pack of Smackers lip balm. And there was this like lemon-lime one, but it wasn't called lemon-lime. It was called like sports crush or something like that.

Mountain Berry, Sports Cooler, Calypso Punch

And yeah, and he had this very distinctive smell and I smelled it again somewhere, not that long ago, but I could not find what it was that smelled that way. And it drove me a little bit crazy. Yeah, instantly brought back though.

Don't know where they went. My mom threw them out. It's fine. She threw them out and she told me that I lost them probably. But it's fine.

Roseanna: That sounds about right. [Both laugh]

Ice Queen: I'm not bitter. It's a little bit only a little, only a little bit and that's fine.

Roseanna: Right? That's pretty good!

Ice Queen: What do you love about food in writing?

Roseanna: That's a good question, too. I love the way food can create like an entire mood or feeling in a way that's really different. And more subtle than weather or something like that, right? Like, oh, it's raining outside, we know we're feeling this sad mood, but food is just it's own thing.

Like I remember I really loved the book Wolves of Willoughby Chase when I was kid and the two protagonists are these little kids and they have many misadventures and they end up in this orphanage for part of it, or it's an orphanage or like an evil school, I can't remember exactly, but they're in this place.

You know, it's really bad because one of the characters gets really sick and her friend mixes up a raw egg with her fingers and feeds it to her. Cause she's malnourished. And I feel like that scene in that book... like I have forgotten like important plot points, I can't tell you as the characters names, but I will never forget that raw egg!

I feel like food is so visceral in a really interesting way. I don't know why I can only think of like children's books today! I promise I read adult books too! [Both laugh]

Ice Queen: I think most of my memories also come from children's books because, I mean, that's when I first loved reading and part of it was because of the food, you know? I also have this very visceral memory. Can't tell you the name of the book. I'll find it after, after we talk, I'm sure. But it was a book about — Earth died. It starts off like they see video from when just even like 30 years before and how much like brighter the sun was and how much bluer or the sky was and all that kind of stuff.

And then they have to look for somewhere to live and they are on the ship for a long time. And then they get to this planet and they can breathe. There's oxygen. But they can't find food and like they get off the ship and they're running through these fields that cut them up. Cause it looks like grass, but it's kind of like glass.

And so it like cuts their legs really bad. And I just remember there were these giant moths that like hatched only once a year kind of thing. And the adults were panicking. Like the children are all exploring and finding things to love about this new planet and the adults are panicking because they can't find food and they're running out of food.

They actually have cyanide pills, but they all plan, like if we can't find food by x point, like. We're just all going to take them. And it's like the night that they're planning to all die. They discover that if you break open the glass-like plants it forms a flour enough that they could make bread out of it.

Roseanna: That sounds so familiar. I feel like I read that book.

Ice Queen: Yeah! It was something, it was like the green something.

Roseanna: Yeah. You said the thing about the, that looks like grass, but it was like glass and like cuts up. And I was like, Wait. I read that scene.

Ice Queen: So I just have this very vivid memory of that. Luckily we are on earth and it is not dead yet.

Roseanna: Yeah. Not yet. Not yet.

Ice Queen: What is your favorite family recipe?

Roseanna: My mom cooked everything from scratch when I was growing up. So I have so much nostalgia for all the food I ate as a kid.

But I think especially these cinnamon rolls that she would make. I don't know why they were just so good, but they were HUGE. And they were always really fluffy inside. I remember I would help her make them sometimes and she always used cinnamon sugar and brown sugar, I think that might be why they were so good.

Cause you know brown sugar, like crystallizes in a really particular way. Oh my gosh!They were so good every time I like think about those cinnamon rolls. I have so much nostalgia for that.

And she used to make tons of them because I grew up in a family of 10 kids. So, you know, there were always a million of us around and we lived on a farm and we're working very hard every day so we were always starving. Mom would just make like trays and trays and trays of these cinnamon rolls and they were just the best.

Ice Queen: It's awful —I love making cinnamon rolls... but I don't like homemade cinnamon rolls.

Roseanna: Really?

Ice Queen: Yeah. I don't know what it is. I grew up on the Pillsbury ones, you know, and they're not good by any means, but when I want a cinnamon roll, that's what my mind goes to.

It's strange. I can eat the ones from Cinnabon. They just don't taste the same as homemade ones. I think if I called it something else in my mind, maybe I could eat it, but when I call it a cinnamon roll it's not good.

Roseanna: Pillsbury are tasty. Food is so funny that way too, beause it's so much about what you're used to and so what's considered special is dictated by that. Like I remember when I was a kid, my mom had everything from scratch. She made all of our bread, she made jams, she made her own spaghetti sauce, like everything. And she would make this really good homemade mac and cheese.

But the special treat for us when we were a kid was: when it was your birthday, you got to pick what to have for dinner. And I remember there was about four or five years of my life and childhood where like me and all my siblings around my age would pick box macaroni and cheese and hotdogs for our special dinner.

That's what we really wanted. 'cause it's the thing that we didn't ever have. And so it seemed very glamorous somehow? So thinking back now, I'm like, my mom's probably so annoyed, like, like made us all just like great food and worked for hours and hours. And then we're like, we'd really like this Kraft boxed mac and cheese and hot dogs for our special dinner.

Ice Queen: Who knows though! She was probably like, done, yeah, less work for me! Yeah. I'll give you all the hot dogs you want all, all the Kraft, Mac and cheese!

It's so funny. I also hated Kraft Mac and cheese when I was growing up. My cousins loved it and I could not stand it because it was because it was like this very fake taste.

I don't know why. But I just could not stand it as a kid. So on one hand only fake cinnamon rolls, but only real mac and cheee. It's because of the cheese. The Cheese told me that that shit is fake! You want the real stuff. [Both laugh]

Roseanna: True. I mean, that's totally fair. It's like that with pizza too, you know, cause you have like everything from like homemade really good pizza and then you have frozen pizza. I'm like, they're all pizza like to varying degrees. Right?

Ice Queen: Exactly. I have a very soft spot for Lunchables pizza. Like I try and make a homemade Lunchable all the time. I'm always trying to make a homemade Lunchable. It's never right. It's the crust at the bottom, you have to find something that matches that crappy crust which is halfway between a flatbread and a cracker.

Roseanna: Yeah. Somehow there's like no recreating these things.

Ice Queen: Yeah. And it's intentional. They've done it on purpose. Just like I guess I always used to try and like recreate Dunkaroos as well. And you would think it'd be as simple as just getting like Teddy Grahams rainbow chip icing. And it's not that simple.

But I sort of bit myself in the ass the other day. Cause I found Dunkaroos when I was in a gas station and I got one and it was way too sweet.

Roseanna: Oh no!

Ice Queen: It was not pleasant to eat. So nostalgia... beat me. Beat me down. [Both laugh]

Kind of going off that: what is a food that you have tried so hard to like and you just don't?

Roseanna: Oh that's such a good question. I feel like there's one I'm trying to think of 'cause I like tried to eat it recently and I was like, I just don't... I do not like this. [pause]

Oh! I remember. Whole grain breads that have like little pieces in them, you know?And I really want to be the person that's like, yeah I love whole grain breads, but I don't. I don't like the way it tastes. And I feel like it's a texture thing more than anything else. I tried over the years, but I also can't eat gluten now, which is like the tragedy of my life. Yeah. I love bread so much.

Ice Queen: I would say so many of the things we have talked about just in this conversation has been like gluten city.

Roseanna: Yeah. It's been rough. It has been rough trying to leave gluten behind. But yeah. Now that I have to buy gluten-free bread, I don't even pretend to like the whole grain bread anymore because gluten-free bread is already not the same.

It's like the vegan cheese, you know, you just know it's not the same and your bread control centers are like, No, not bread. So I just buy the white bread because whatever, it's not real bread anyway.

Ice Queen: Positive gluten-free thing! I don't know if you've tried it yet, but it is actually good.

Not like good for gluten free, just good. The brand Glutino?

Roseanna: Yes. They have some really good stuff.

Ice Queen: Have you had their English muffins?

Roseanna: No.

Ice Queen: So good.

Roseanna: We need to get them. Okay. Yeah.

Ice Queen: You're going to, you're going to email me and you're going to be like, oh my God they're so good. Like especially with jam!

Yeah. So other than that, I don't think I ever got their regular bread. But there was some gluten-free options that I found that held up pretty well. Like, cause a lot of times they're so crumbly and like as a sandwich, you can't really eat it, but there were some gluten-free breads that I found that did actually have a good structure so it held together. I'll email you if I can think of them!

Roseanna: Yeah! Please do. Cause I'm always in search of a good gluten-free bread. The best one I've found so far is Canyon.They have like pretty good bread and they have good gluten-free bagels.

They're the only brand of gluten-free bagels that I eat because all the other ones are just trash, so bad. Like I love bagels. And like when I moved from upstate New York to Ohio for grad school and I started eating Midwest bagels, I was like, What is this, like, it tastes like a roll. Why is it not chewy?

And Remi was, so confused. He's like, that's what bagels tastes like. And I'm like, IT IS NOT!

Ice Queen: I feel you because I get that way about grits in other places because people don't know how to prepare grits, like at all. You get it and it's just this gluey gross mess. And I'm like, why, why are you trying, first of all. Just make polenta! [Both Laugh]

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Roseanna: Okay. I like to think about this question a lot. I use it as one of my get to know you questions. I think the answer is soup because there's so much variety in soup. So it's like a little loophole there.

It's kind of cheating. But if I had, if I had to pick like a specific soup, controversial opinion, but I think pea soup with dumplings would be the food because it's so good. It's so like hearty and then you have like a good texture mix cause it's soup but has dumplings in it, so you still feel like you're like eating a meal meal.

Ice Queen: Did you have any projects that you're currently working on that you're really excited about?

Roseanna: I actually have a chapbook that is like close to being done. I think. I feel like there are a couple of poems that I'm like, Hmm. Maybe I should like pull these and write new ones. But I think it's like getting close to being done, which is always really exciting.

I feel like my writing— cause my debut collection was my MFA thesis— so if I'll do readings and read from it, it feels very much like 22 year old me, you know? And so I feel like working on projects is so weird. Cause it's encapsulating this moment that you're in, in your life.

And so I feel like with this project right now, like it's interesting kind of seeing it come together through the lens of the pandemic and like all of these different things that have kind of been happening and I'm like, oh wow, this is going to be so weird to look back at this and like 10 years.

And then the next thing that I'm sort of starting to think about is putting together my dissertation. Cause I'm in the second year of my PhD program. So I'm like, okay, I need to write another like book length thing and think about what threads are going to kind of go into that. So that's at the back of my mind, and then I have my almost done chapbook that's forefront.

Ice Queen: So you got a lot going on! That's really exciting. I can't wait to see all that out. Who are you reading right now? If you're reading.

Roseanna: I have not been reading as much as I like to be reading. I can tell you the things that are on my bedside table that are waiting for me to read.

Ice Queen: Tell me.

Roseanna: I bought a copy of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Which is a novel, and I'm really excited to read that my sister recommended it to me and said that it's like one of the best novels she's read and she's very good taste and is very well read. So I'm like, okay, I'm really excited to read this.

And then I have like kind of different genres, like waiting for me to read. I have a collection of Diane Seuss checked out from the library waiting for me to read. She's excellent. Like I've read her poetry before, but I haven't read this particular collection.

I'm also reading My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland which is like sort of an experimental memoir. It's so good. And so interesting. So that's really good. And it's about like, you know, like trying to find other queer people and like literature and history and kind of what that means for our own like construction of queerness. I'm actually like halfway through that one. I started at Christmas though, so, and neglected for a long time.

And then the last book on my reading list is I checked out this book on radical sewing. And it's a size inclusive pattern-free collection on making your own clothes. My dream is to be the person that makes my own clothes like, has like a chicken coop so I can stop buying unethical eggs.

And I want to be that person so bad. I'm not that person, but ~we're aspiring~. So that's my aspirational read, I guess.

Ice Queen: That's amazing! What are some of your favorite lit mags either to read or to submit to?

Roseanna: Ooh. Okay. The Hunger is definitely one of my favorite. They're a small indie lit mag. They publish online. And then they also just recently in the last couple of years started publishing chapbooks as well. They are they're excellent. I love submitting to them. I also just love reading them because they publish great stuff.

Really anything that Sun Dress puts out I'm always like a huge fan. And I submit to them a lot as well.

Ice Queen: That is all of my questions. Thank you so much for having this conversation with me. I love just getting to know how people think about food in writing and in life. I just love to gossip about food!

Roseanna: This was so much fun. Thank you so much!


Roseanna Alice Boswell is a queer poet from Upstate New York. Her work has appeared in: RHINO, Whiskey Island, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Roseanna holds an MFA from Bowling Green State University and is a Ph.D. student in English - Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. Her chapbook, Imitating Light, was chosen as the 2021 Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Competition winner. Roseanna’s first full-length collection, Hiding in a Thimble, was published with Haverthorn Press in 2021. She currently haunts the Midwest with her husband and cat.


Erin Armstrong has an MFA from CU-Boulder, is the editor-in-chief of Ice Queen Magazine and the managing editor of Gasher Press. Her works are forthcoming or published in The Citron Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Banango Street, New World Writing and elsewhere.


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