Thank You

color, flavor, light

Cover Muttabaq2
2010. It was the year I knew I needed a change of course. Research into the complexities of our government was my everyday and it would be for the rest of my life. Publishing works on presidential leadership while dreaming of going home and playing with my food. That was my fate. I wanted the opposite: I wanted my work to become my hobby again and my hobby to become my life. For several years, my free time was consumed by books on food. I’d read and learn and file the information away in a mental folder labeled “culinary” (and in another one labeled “pastry,” of course) that rested on the shelf, sandwiched between the one labeled “Calvinism” and the other labeled ”democracy.” And 2010 was the year I learned about Yotam Ottolenghi and his business partner Sami Tamimi — their backgrounds and their popularity in London.

I thought I had found my culinary cousin — a wiser, more creative, more experienced cousin. This is how I like to eat. Ottolenghi gets me, I thought. Persian father, American mother, I grew up with no real food story. I eat and love everything, but it is the freshness of the Mediterranean and the boldness of the Middle East, no region’s unique cuisine excluded, that will always be my favorites.

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A Feast of Plenty

saffron cauliflower, chard omelettes, & fried lima beans


I am in awe, folks. Complete awe. I came here with a story in mind – something I’ve wanted to share in this space for a while. I pictured words streaming from my fingertips as I reminisced about an enjoyed meal, a Persian New Year feast. But I can’t do it. Not today. That meal deserves to be the only thing that is shared today.

I said I would report back on the food I ate on the thirteenth day of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. I promised it would be delicious, as I’ve made some of the dishes before. I didn’t, however, think it would be enough to leave me, quite literally, speechless. Long story short, Persian families traditionally celebrate and picnic on that day to squelch all evil that is associated with the number thirteen. Since there would not be any literal picnicking going on, I thought I would serve some mezze plates that used Persian flavors with some fluffy and buttery basmati rice and the requisite Shirazi salad.

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