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Notes on a Banana

A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression

David Leite’s career has been one of self-discovery, from his exploration of his Portuguese heritage through the dishes of that culture—which led to his award-winning first book, The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe's Western Coast, and the development of his James Beard Award-winning website, Leite's Culinaria.

Now, his memoir, Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression, has been released to critical acclaim. The author is slated to sign copies at The Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Saturday at 4PM. Light refreshments from The New Portuguese Table will be served.

Born into a family of Azorean immigrants, Leite grew up in the 1960s in a devoutly Catholic, blue-collar, food-crazed Portuguese home in Fall River MA. Blessed with a vivid imagination and a flair for the dramatic, “Banana” as his mother endearingly called him, yearned to live in a middle-class house with a swinging kitchen door like the ones on television, and fell in love with everything French, thanks to his Portuguese and French-Canadian godmother.

But Leite also struggled with the emotional devastation of manic depression. Until he was diagnosed in his mid-30s, he found relief from his wild mood swings in learning about food, watching Julia Child and cooking for others.

At the same time, he struggled to accept his sexual identity, first rejecting his homosexuality and attempting to “turn straight” through Aesthetic Realism. His journey took him to a cult in downtown Manhattan to eventually becoming a writer and web publisher and to a 24-year relationship with Alan, known to his readers as “The One.”

The Hickory Stick signing is free and open to the public. Those unable to attend the event, can reserve a signed copy of Notes on a Banana by calling 860-868-0525. For further information please visit or you can also email them at