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Arts & Entertainment A weekly guide to music, theater, art, movies and more, edited by Rebecca Wallace Former restaurateur Donia Bijan describes in a new memoir her family’s journey of exile and quest for belonging :=B8=B; 5 D@579 5H @=:9ÁG H56@9 by Renee Batti photographs by Michelle Le Donia Bijan squeezes lemon juice into an apple mixture, working in the backyard of her Menlo Park home. 5 t the time former restaurateur Donia Bijan began writing down memories of her parents’ lives, she was wracked by grief over the unexpected and gruesome death of her beloved mother, Menlo Park resident Atefeh “Amy” Bijan. Bijan, the owner and chef of the highly regarded L’Amie Donia restaurant in Palo Alto, now closed, felt compelled to leave a record for her son and her sisters’ children about their grandparents, who immigrated to the United States after being exiled from their homeland in 1978, at the beginning of the Iranian Revolution. The project of remembering through writing germinated as Bijan sorted through her mother’s possessions, eight days after Amy Bijan, still vital and fit at 75, was struck and killed by a car while walking in a crosswalk on Menlo Park’s Santa Cruz Avenue in January 2004. Entering her mother’s home a few days after the funeral, Bijan worked somberly amid the scent of tea and roses, “sorting and packing the boxes I had lined up by her cabinets like little coffins, filling them with cups and saucers wrapped in newspaper, and spoons, spatulas, and whisks,” she would write later. During the course of packing up, Bijan came across a collection of papers tucked into a kitchen drawer — newspaper clippings from food sec- Clockwise from left: Donia Bijan picks low-hanging apples while her husband and son, Mitchell and Luca Johnson, help harvest harder-to-reach fruit from an abundantly producing tree in the family’s backyard; an array of apples; wholewheat apple bread — one of several results of the apple harvest — cools on the backyard picnic table. (continued on next page) *>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞÊUÊ"V̜LiÀÊÇ]ÊÓ䣣ÊU Page 33

Palo Alto Weekly 10.07.2011 - Section 2

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