If you were to bump into Kelly Sue DeConnick and her husband, Matt Fraction, at the grocery store with their children, Henry Leo and Tallulah, you probably wouldn’t immediately guess that the fate of a universe rests in their creatively capable hands.
You might think that they were simply shopping for produce, or cruising for new breakfast cereal, but don’t let their clever disguise as a normal, happy family fool you. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction are two of the most celebrated and influential creative forces fueling the Marvel Universe, and we got the inside scoop on how creativity in comic books can translate in the kitchen.
FN Dish: In the comic world, you both write. In the kitchen, do you divvy up the roles?
Kelly Sue: You know, I don’t think we have a strict division of either interest or expertise. I was going to say that I tend to do the baking — and that’s true — but it’s also often a team effort.
For everyday dinners, I’m usually the one keeping track of what dishes are at what place in the process and we rotate around the tasks trying to get them all to come together at roughly the same time — and to keep the kids engaged, too.
Your children have clearly adopted your creative personalities. How are you working to get them interested in food and eating?
KS: We try to encourage them to try whatever interests them, but we never force it. The basic tenet of our philosophy is to make dinnertime a positive experience, nurturing on non-literal levels. That said, what’s for dinner is what’s on your plate — you don’t get a special meal made for you unless we’re having something that is genuinely too spicy for a kid’s mouth. If you’re not hungry, you don’t have to eat, but you do have to sit at the table and participate in the conversation.
We’ve been very lucky in that we have adventurous eaters on our hands. Our four-year-old, Henry Leo, loves sushi — in particular ika, which is squid.
Tallulah is a little more traditional. She will eat her weight in macaroni and cheese, given the opportunity. But Tallulah is also the child who wants to do anything and everything that Mommy and Daddy and the big kids are doing — so she’s very interested in what we’re eating. Mommy likes heat. Consequently, Tallulah’s more interested in spicier foods than her brother is.
Any family favorites when it comes to Food Network shows?
KS: I’m not making this up: Henry Leo loves Alton Brown. Good Eats was the first show he watched that wasn’t animated.
MF: It was the episode about squid.
KS: That’s it! Squid Pro Quo.
Do you have any special menu items you’ll be making for Matt on Father’s Day?
KS: I think we’ll probably see if our friends the Bendises will barbecue with us. As far as the menu: bacon-wrapped grilled corn on the cob.
Kelly, how do you balance being the writer of Captain Marvel with being the creator of The Family Meal?
KS: What is this “balance” you speak of? I have no idea. I am decidedly not a superhero. I tend to fall asleep in my clothes and everything around me is, uh, let’s say “whimsically imperfect.” I can’t do it all, so I do my best. The thing that gives me my greatest joy in life is my little family of weirdos. Dinner is probably my favorite part of the day.
That hour is what makes us the family that we are. We love food, we love what’s on the table and feeding the kids something that will delight their senses as it build their bodies, but it’s that listening and loving time that really nourishes our little heroes.
Matt, how do you balance being the writer of books like Avengers VS X-Men and Invincible Iron Man with being the creator of The Family Meal?
MF: I do one so I can do the other, y’know? The whole reason I left the safety and security of my previous career was so I could be a dad that picked up the kids and invents Silly Mac & Cheese and tries to help his wife feed the troops. You know what I mean? One, pardon the pun, feeds the other.
Any advice to fathers who want to be more involved in the kitchen with their kids?
MF: Just dig in, I suppose. Try to be of use, try to keep the day and evening flowing. I am terrible at it, but I can at least help with the after-school play to dinner to bath-time transitions.
Who do you think would be better cooks: the Avengers or the X-Men?
KS: I’m going to go with the X-Men. I bet Wolverine has some serious culinary moves. (He’s an Avenger as well, though, so the issue is muddy.) I suspect, however, that Tony Stark and Thor are terrible cooks. I’m not sure why, but that is my suspicion.
Learn more about Captain Marvel and Avengers VS X-Men, available now in the Marvel Digital Comic Shop.