Each of Lara Vapnyar's six stories invites us into a world where food and love intersect, along with the overlapping pleasures and frustrations of Vapnyar's uniquely captivating characters. Meet Nina, a recent arrival from Russia, for whom colorful vegetables represent her own fresh hopes and dreams . . . Luda and Milena, who battle over a widower in their English class with competing recipes for cheese puffs, spinach pies, and meatballs . . . and Sergey, who finds more comfort in the borscht made by a paid female companion than in her sexual ministrations. They all crave the taste and smell of home, wherever—and with whomever—that may turn out to be. A roundup of recipes are the final taste of this delicious collection.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love|
|Release Date: 06-03-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love
A Bunch of Broccoli on the Third Shelf
Another one, seduced and abandoned," Nina's husband said, pulling a bunch of wilted broccoli from the refrigerator shelf. He held it with two fingers as if it stank, his handsome face scrunched in a grimace of disgust.
It doesn't stink, Nina thought. She blushed and hurried to take the broccoli-to throw it into the garbage. It isn't fresh, but you can't say that it stinks. She didn't say these thoughts aloud. She said she was sorry, she was busy all week and didn't have time for cooking. Nina worked in Manhattan. By the time she came home to Brooklyn, it was already seven thirty, sometimes eight, and she felt too tired to cook. The most she could do was fix a sandwich for her husband and herself or boil some meat dumplings from a Russian food store.
"Yes, I know," her husband said. "But why buy all these vegetables if you know you won't have time to cook them?" Nina shrugged. She liked shopping for vegetables.
Nina couldn't say when she'd first begun the habit of shopping for vegetables. Probably two years earlier, on her second day in America, when she and her husband left her sister's Brooklyn apartment to explore the nearest shopping street. Her sister, who'd lived in America for fourteen years, called herself an American. She thought Nina would be impatient to see everything. "Go, go," her sister said. "But don't buy anything. To survive in America, there are two rules you have to remember. First: Never buy anything in expensive stores unless they have a fifty-percent-off sale. Second: Never ever buy anything in cheap stores."
On the street with the unimaginative n