Maman and Me: Recipes from Our Iranian American Family
Beautiful photos, pantry item suggestions, notes on language including the authors’ decision to use Iranian versus Persian, abbreviations noting whether a dish is vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten-free, and many easy recipes for home cooks, makes this a compelling cookbook to add to any collection.
The authors, Gita Sadeh or Maman, who is nicknamed "CEO of tahdig" by her 15 million Tik Tok followers, referencing the rice dish known for its crispy crust, and her daughter, Roya Shariat, author of “Consumed,” a weekly food and culture newsletter, who partners with her mother on Tik Tok, celebrate their Iranian heritage in this wonderful cookbook.
“Farsi is an extremely poetic language full of creative and fun idioms that have no English equivalent,” they write about the language and how it relates to foods presented in their book. “There are food-related terms that feel essential to enjoying and understanding our food culture, so we’re sharing a few of them with you.”
There’s loqme, pronounced logmeh, referring both to a morsel of food or a little bite, but also signifying a perfect bite: a piece of food that has all the right components and is wrapped in a piece of bread. An example is a breakfast dish consisting of warm lavash bread sandwiched with fresh herbs, a walnut, and a cube of feta. Ja oftadeh is the phrase that signifies a slow simmering dish such as soup or stew is ready.
“You can cook any of the stews in this cookbook for hours and they’ll only get better with time,” the authors note.
Mother and daughter then explain to readers how they can use these phrases and words when hosting friends and family, creating another bridge between Iranian food and culture and the American kitchen.
Each of these family recipes start with an introduction that could include the history of the dish as well as how it is traditionally made and/or served. For those who are not particularly adventuresome when it comes to trying a new cuisine, there are introductory dishes such as Potato Chips and Greek Yogurt Dip is a vegetarian option (known as Chips-O-Mast). In a delightful mix of cultures, Shariat talks about discovering in college that Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles make an incredible pairing with the creamy, thick yogurt dip.
A one pot dish like the gluten-free Khorak-E-Morgh, a Sunday Chicken Stew, is perfect, the authors say, whenever you want to make something simple that still tastes amazing. Doogh or Fizzy Yogurt Soda, both vegetarian and gluten-free, is a savory yogurt-based drink that pairs perfectly with any red meat, and Maman’s Peach Muffins can be made with both fresh and canned fruit.
Many of the recipes are easy and yet still unique to American palates such as Rosewater and Cardamom Pudding (Masghati) which Maman describes as the type of dessert you whip up if you have last minute company.
How wonderful is that?