David Leite, food blogger and author of Notes on a Banana, will be Darien Library’s featured speaker at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 25. Refreshments will be served.
A unique blend of Anthony Bourdain, Augusten Burroughs, and Kay Redfield Jamison, David Leite’s Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression is a true tale that dazzles, touches the heart, and, ultimately, triumphs.
Born into a devoutly Catholic, food-crazed family of Azorean immigrants in 1960s Fall River, Mass., David had a childhood that was the stuff of sitcoms.
But what no one knew was that this smart-ass, determined dreamer with a vivid imagination also struggled with the frightening mood swings of bipolar disorder.
To cope, “Banana,” as his mother endearingly called him, found relief and comfort in food, watching reruns of Julia Child, and, later as an adult, cooking for others.
It was only in his mid-thirties, after years of desperate searching, that he finally uncover the truth about himself, receive proper medical treatment, and begin healing.
Throughout the narrative, David takes the reader along on the exhilarating highs and shattering lows of his life, with his trademark sense of humor: We watch as he
- slams the door on his Portuguese heritage in favor of blond-haired, blue-eyed WASPdom;
- realizes he’s gay and attempts to “turn straight” through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan;
- battles against dark and bitter moods, delights in his twenty-plus year relationship with Alan (known to millions of David’s online readers as “The One); and
- shares the people, dishes, and events that shaped him.
Notes on a Banana is at once a tender look at growing up, a candid take on the power of self-acceptance, and an unflinching tale of the hell of mental illness.
About the Author
In 1999, Leite founded the website Leite’s Culinaria, and in 2006 he had the distinction of being the first winner ever of a James Beard Award for a website, a feat he repeated in 2007.
His first book, The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe’s Western Coast explored the food of his heritage and won the 2010 IACP First Book/Julia Child Award.
David is also a regular correspondent and guest host on NPR’s “The Splendid Table.” He splits his time between Connecticut and New York, but will travel anywhere for a good meal.
Leite and Leite’s Culinaria Online