Iran Call­ing

WHEN COOK­BOOK AU­THOR LOUISA SHAFIA FI­NALLY VIS­ITED PER­SIA SHE DIS­COV­ERED AU­THEN­TIC FLA­VORS, A DEEPER CON­NEC­TION TO FAM­ILY AND A NEW PER­SPEC­TIVE ON HER IDEN­TITY

EatingWell - - FEATURES - LOUISA SHAFIA STORY, RECIPES & LO­CA­TION PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

When cook­book au­thor Louisa Shafia fi­nally vis­ited Per­sia she dis­cov­ered au­then­tic fla­vors and a new per­spec­tive on her iden­tity.

If I didn’t look so much like my dad’s side of the fam­ily, I may have never vis­ited Iran. My fa­ther grew up in Tehran but left decades ago, and has never re­turned. Grow­ing up, my ten­u­ous con­nec­tion con­sisted mainly of hear­ing my fa­ther speak to rel­a­tives on the phone in the up­ward-arc­ing ca­dences of Farsi, and gath­er­ing with other Ira­ni­ans each spring in the Philadel­phia sub­urbs to cel­e­brate the Per­sian New Year, Nowruz. But I ran head­long into my Per­sian her­itage when I be­gan cook­ing at a restau­rant in San Fran­cisco. When I was asked to cre­ate a new menu item, I wanted it to stand out, and a voice in my head told me to make fe­s­en­jan, a beloved Per­sian stew made from ground wal­nuts and pome­gran­ate mo­lasses. From then on, I pre­pared dishes packed with in­gre­di­ents like saf­fron, pomegranates, dried limes, rose petals and tamarind. I was over­whelmed with nos­tal­gia by the fla­vors and aro­mas and felt a strong de­sire to bring this lit­tle-known cui­sine to more peo­ple’s at­ten­tion. I needed to fol­low these fla­vors to their ori­gin.

ERIC WOLFIN­GER FOOD PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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