Each of Lara Vapnyar's six stories invites us into a world where food and love intersect, along with the overlapping pleasures and frustrations of Vapnyar's uniquely captivating characters. Meet 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. They all crave the taste and smell of home, wherever — and with whomever — that may turn out to be. A roundup of recipes are the final taste of this delicious collection.