“You may additionally attend college in America,” my mother regularly told my brothers and me. At the same time, we were youngsters in our local San Diego, in the Nineteen Eighties, “but while you come home, you’re in Iran.” Accordingly, we spoke Farsi and attended Persian school on Saturdays to learn to examine and write the language; we listened to classical Persian setar music; and celebrated Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
But in reality, the most potent form of cultural immersion we skilled turned into culinary. My mother, who left Iran in 1976, steeped us inside Persian delicacies’ smells, tastes, and traditions. She spent hours upon hours every week traversing not simply San Diego but also Orange County and Los Angeles, over 100 miles away, on the lookout for the flavors that reminded her of Iran. She taught us that no matter what changed into taking place inside the information, home is home, and nothing can transport you there like the taste.
In Irvine, she discovered a bakery making fresh sangak, a massive dimpled flatbread named for the pebbles that line the oven floor on which the slabs of dough are baked. She’d line us all up there on weekend mornings so that everyone may want to order the 3-in step with-man or woman most — 12 portions being sufficient to justify the hour-and-a-half-long drive for bread.
Systematically, she sold and tasted each emblem of undeniable yogurt available on the grocery save, searching for the thickest, sourest one. She regularly packed us into our blue station wagon and drove across the metropolis to the worldwide grocer, in which she ought to have her desire of seven types of feta and purchase pure herbs by using the pound instead of through the bunch.
The cornerstone of each Persian meal is rice or polo. Each day, my mother might unzip a five-kilogram burlap sack of rice — usually basmati — and element out a cup in keeping with man or woman right into a vast bowl, rinsing and soaking it for hours earlier than giving it a quick boil. Then she’d begin the sorcery required to make tahdig, the crispy rice crust by using which every Persian cook dinner’s healthy worth is measured.