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.’
From the cover of this book, it would seem this book would appeal to fans of renowned cook, Chef Lidia Bastianich. That assumption is wrong.
I have just started reading this book, so my full review will come later, but for now, my first impressions underline that this book is a ‘must read’ for immigrants and their children.
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.
The full review to come….