My American Dream
A Life of Love, Family, and Food
For decades, beloved chef Lidia Bastianich has introduced Americans to Italian food through her cookbooks, TV shows, and restaurants. Now she tells her own story for the first time in this “memoir as rich and complex as her mushroom ragú" (O, the Oprah Magazine).
Born in Pula, on the Istrian peninsula, Lidia grew up surrounded by love and security, learning the art of Italian cooking from her beloved grandmother. But when Istria was annexed by a communist regime, Lidia’s family fled to Trieste, where they spent two years in a refugee camp waiting for visas to enter the United States. When she finally arrived in New York, Lidia soon began working in restaurants, the first step on a path that led to her becoming one of the most revered chefs and businesswomen in the country. Heartwarming, deeply personal, and powerfully inspiring, My American Dream is the story of Lidia’s close-knit family and her dedication and endless passion for food.
Chef and restaurateur Bastianich (Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian) offers a look into her culinary background in this charming memoir. Bastianich grew up in the former Yugoslavia under Communist rule and spent two years in an Italian refugee camp before immigrating to America with her family in 1958. While recounting youthful hardships always from an optimistic point of view Bastianich includes fond food memories, such as gathering wild asparagus, catching branzino with a favorite uncle, and working in the Queens bakery owned by actor Christopher Walken's father. She also chronicles the history of her Upper East Side restaurant, Felidia, and lovingly follows her children's entry into the food business Joe as the founder and owner of Manhattan restaurant Becco and co-owner of Babbo and Lupa, and Tanya as the head of Bastianich's Tavola Productions. "The cornerstone of my life has always been food: growing it, sometimes not having enough of it, preparing it, and relishing the many tastes and smells," Bastianich writes. Whether recalling her lean years in Yugoslavia, cooking with Julia Child, or reeling in sockeye salmon during an Alaskan fishing trip with one of her grandchildren, Bastianich passionately evokes the concept that food is life. Through her lyrical prose, she also encourages readers to find the bright side of any situation. This is a welcome addition to any food lover's library.
Review of Lidia Bastianich’s book
I loved this book. I hated to come to the end. Through it I feel that I know Lidia as a friend. It is a wonderful collection of such great memories.
My American Dream by Lidia
I chose to read this biography because I knew, after following Lidia on PBS for many years, that her story would relieve my anxiety about the state of our democracy today. It did, the reality about Lidia's family under the communist regime, her dark times in the deportation camp and her ultimate resolve and perseverance to overcome , is just what I needed. I was so happy and proud to learn about the true caring and kindness of Catholic Charities. The strength of an immigrant neighborhood like Astoria, Queens. And ultimately the strength and love of her family that made their American dream come true in so many ways. God bless you Lidia. I have always loved watching you on PBS and know I know why.