The story actually contains this passage:
Luda and Milena had, of course, heard that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach, but they had never believed it. Aron Skolnik convinced them.
Sigh. I don't really want to take Lara Vapnyar to task, personally, as she's my age, in the same business as me, and has an impressive life story: having moved here from Russia in her twenties without any English, she has (like Nabokov, probably the best thing we ever got from Russia) mastered the language well enough in ten years to make a career of writing in it. But this is not an ambitious piece of work, is essentially sentimental in outlook, and depends upon the kind of hackneyed reversals of fortune that used to be the hallmark of fiction in, say, Cosmopolitan in the sixties.
Did the New Yorker publish it because it's, you know, immigrant-y? Is that enough? Am I even allowed to say that, being a guy who would, you know, love to be in the New Yorker more often? In any event, insofar as the New Yorker is considered to be among the last remaining mass-market outlets for "serious" fiction, I think they should have passed on a story in which the response to a man's choking to death on a yummy meatball is "And he died happy, didn't he?"