The New York Times has called Lara Vapnyar’s latest collection, Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, “elegant,” saying, “In these stories, food has the power to define characters, propel plots, cause riots and even commit manslaughter.”
And, in fact, each of the stories in the latest collection invites us into a world where food and love intersect, along with the overlapping pleasures and frustrations of Vapnyar’s uniquely captivating characters.
There’s 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.
Vapnyar’s charming writing would make the book a brilliant addition to your library all on its own. But, Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love contains a roundup of all of the recipes, making it a must-have.
Read an excerpt from the story “A Bunch of Broccoli on the Third Shelf” and New York Times essay by Lara Vapnyar. Then, download a recipe for Hot Borscht from the book.