Lidia Matticchio Bastianich's memoir that touches on her close-knit family, her dedication and endless passion for food that ultimately led to multiple restaurants, many cookbooks, and twenty years on public television as the host of her own cooking show.
My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food is a beguiling memoir about Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s path from a bucolic European childhood, abruptly cut short, to her remarkable present-day success as an award-winning television chef, cookbook author and restaurateur ... Ms. Bastianich writes about those early days with a buoyant, optimistic tone ... Food has been the mainstay of Ms. Bastianich’s life.
These days, Bastianich is a beloved restaurateur, cookbook author and TV personality with a grandmotherly demeanor and a quiet confidence ... Bastianich’s book is titled My American Dream, appropriate for what reads like a quintessential immigrant story, making her another example of figures who came here as outsiders but became beloved and famous for their way with food ... Bastianich stays away from any overt political commentary. But her memory for evocative detail — if she didn’t keep a journal her whole life, the memoir sure reads as if she did — and her writing style make for compelling reading nonetheless. Rather than squeeze every drop of sentimentality out of sometimes-painful accounts, she reflects on her life with a matter-of-factness that makes the stories all the more poignant.
Written in a straightforward, linear narrative, My American Dream is—like her cooking—accessible. Yes, there are a few transitions that are clunky or awkward, and descriptions about her family life are superficial at best, leaving the reader with more questions than answers. Still, the book conveys her enormous sense of gratitude to her parents who risked everything to give her and her brother a better life in America. And in that sense, it is a touching (and timely) read.