Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maman's Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan

    Following her mother’s untimely death the author went to her mother’s kitchen to gather what she could.  In addition to juice glasses and a collection of unmatched utensils Bijan found an unexpected treasure - recipes in drawers which were in a way a record of her mother’s determination.    This was a woman who “had weathered a revolution, exile, and threats to her live and had built her family a new home through sheer will....Not one to be left out, she had seen a vital connection between food and belonging.”

    Bijan wondered had she been in a similar situation if she possessed even a bit of her mother’s will to start over.  In the discovered recipes she was to find  her parents experience as immigrants, and she shares that with us through memories, stories, and recipes.  In addition to sharing the challenges faced in truly beginning all over again we find 30 recipes, many of them reminiscent of her Iranian childhood, such as my personal favorite Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant.

    As a youngster Bijan lived in Tehran with her parents.  She learned to cook from her mother, and played on the grounds of her father’s hospital.  The Islamic Revolution in 1978 forced them to seek refuge in the United States.  Bijan adapted quickly; her parents had a bit of a struggle.

    Maman’s Homesick Pie is a loving memoir, a snapshot of past beauty, and homage to the strength and tenacity of her mother in creating a new home.

    - Gail Cooke

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