Lidia: A Life of Love, Family, and Food
Lida Bastianich is a renowned chef, famous cookbook writer and a very well-known restauranteur. Her book, Lidia: A Life of Love, Family, and Food should be read by Canadian and American immigrants and their children if they wish to read the verbalization of what their families experienced as refugees coming to the ‘new world.’
The beloved Lidia Bastianich–best-selling cookbook author, award-winning television personality, and renowned restaurateur–tells her heartwarming, emotional and revelatory personal story for the first time, with hallmark warmth and gusto.
Lidia’s story begins with her childhood in Pula, a small city in northern Italy that turned Yugoslavian under Tito’s communist regime. Despite the political climate and her family’s poverty, she enjoyed a loving upbringing, spending time in the simple, rugged beauty of her surroundings: fishing, farming, and foraging, and learning about Italian cooking from her beloved grandmother, Nonna Rosa. When the communist regime began investigating her family, they made the difficult decision to flee to Trieste, Italy, where they spent two years in a refugee camp waiting for visas to enter the United States–an experience that has affected Lidia ever since.
At the age of 12, Lidia started a new life in New York. As a young teenager, she began working in restaurants–the first step toward the creation of her own American dream. In this book, in vivid detail, she recounts her journey of fulfilling that dream. Supported by her close-knit family, and fueled by her dedication and endless passion for food, her drive ultimately led her to owning multiple restaurants, writing several cookbooks, and acting as host of her own television cooking show for twenty years. This memoir is an absolute must-have for the millions of Lidia fans who are eager to know her whole story at last.
From the cover of this book, readers might expect a compilation of recipes from renowned cook, Chef Lidia Bastianich. That would be a wrong assumption
Bastianich’s book is a memoir, recollections of her early childhood in Croatia and her family’s journey from living in the Yugoslavia of Marshall Tito’s dictatorship, to their refugee journey to America and establishing their life there.
What a memoir!
It begins as a sentimental recollection of her early years, a pastoral life, simple but rich with family, farming and love. Soon, it moves into the frightening period of living under Communist Yugoslavian dictatorship from which the family ultimately escapes. Life in a refugee camp, followed by the tension and anxiety in getting visa approval permitting emigration to the United States.
Bastianich’s compelling memoir captures all the emotions and touches all the senses. Fear and trepidation: would the family pass the medical examinations, would they be approved for entry into the USA, penniless, limited in skills and language? The tension and stress the family experiences are conveyed to the reader without stopping. Bastianich captures it all, all of the emotional and psychological turbulence and turmoil that the family experienced as they set roots in a new, foreign and unfamiliar land.
If your family are immigrants to Canada or the USA, reading this book will take them back in time helping them recall all the trauma the Bastianich family experienced and likely that their own families experienced. Even second or third-generation emigrants will relate to what their parents and grandparents went through as they began new lives in a strange country that seemed to promise so much.
Not one food recipe in the entire book. Instead one huge recipe for living a full and rich life.