Aimee Bender

“I started in our neighborhood, buying a pastrami burrito at Oki Dog and a deluxe gardenburger at Astro Burger and matzoh-ball soup at Greenblatt's and some greasy egg rolls at the Formosa. In part funny, and rigid, and sleepy, and angry. People. Then I made concentric circles outward, reaching first to Canter's and Pink's, then rippling farther, tofu at Yabu and mole at Alegria and sugok at Marouch; the sweet-corn salad at Casbah in Silver Lake and Rae's charbroiled burgers on Pico and the garlicky hummus at Carousel in Glendale. I ate an enormous range of food, and mood. Many favorites showed up- families who had traveled far and whose dishes were steeped with the trials of passageways. An Iranian cafe near Ohio and Westwood had such a rich grief in the lamb shank that I could eat it all without doing any of my tricks- side of the mouth, ingredient tracking, fast-chew and swallow. Being there was like having a good cry, the clearing of the air after weight has been held. I asked the waiter if I could thank the chef, and he led me to the back, where a very ordinary-looking woman with gray hair in a practical layered cut tossed translucent onions in a fry pan and shook my hand. Her face was steady, faintly sweaty from the warmth of the kitchen.
Glad you liked it, she said, as she added a pinch of saffron to the pan. Old family recipe, she said.
No trembling in her voice, no tears streaking down her face.”


Aimee Bender, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
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