Anita Legsdin cooks up stories as well as recipes for certain dishes in her book Remembrance of Meals Past.
Food is the focal point of the memories and stories, some of which are fictionalized. For example, “A Good Year for Apples” is inspired by the author’s reunion with her relatives in Latvia. The story revolves around the edible mushrooms Bekas and Baravikas, both of the Boletus variety.
“Blind Date” talks about the first date that made the author not eat pasta ever since.
“The Paella Prototype” tells about the author’s friend Sylvia and her relationship to Guy and Sam, who ended up being a gay couple. Paella is a rice dish from Valencia, Spain.
“The Sins of the Fathers” is mostly fictionalized and tells about the meeting between Steve and Mara, who orders shepherd’s pie.
These are just some of the stories – and recipes – food lovers and book lovers will find in Remembrance of Meals Past.
The book has been exhibited in book events in America and around the world, such as Frankfurt International Book Fair, Beijing International Book, Beijing International Book, Miami Book Fair, and The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
Patrick went back into the kitchen and returned with a tall glass of milk. When he asked me what I wanted to drink, I said I’d just have the tea, thanks. I nibbled at my spaghetti while Patrick dug into it wholeheartedly, slurping noisily. The pasta was OK––just OK––with the butter, but I’d hoped for something less bland. Even garlic bread would have been good.
Several years later, one of her friends married. They celebrated the event at a friend’s house, another memorable house: an enormous Victorian mansion in the manner Sylvia herself would like to live. But by then, her tastes had changed. Bare hardwood floors had been replaced by oriental carpets, sparse designer furniture by plentiful antiques. The reception was potluck. She brought a chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce; the hostess served a tureen of gazpacho, someone else brought a salad with nasturtium leaves and rose petals. The cousin of the bride brought in a huge casserole, unveiling a steaming mound of assorted meats atop yellow rice. Someone standing next to Sylvia asked what it was. “Paella,” the cousin responded.
Susan, a woman who usually sits behind me in boats, asked me what I was planning to bring to the potluck. “You always bring such exotic dishes, I’ll bet this one’ll be special.” I thought for a brief moment. True, I always enjoyed bringing Latvian specialties that displayed my ancestral heritage and pride. I loved to bring sauerkraut, or a good loaf of rye bread, or delicate Latvian pastries. But not this time. “I’m just bringing macaroni and cheese,” I replied. “Oh, that’s right,” Susan said, nodding. “Comfort food.”