Friday, February 22, 2013

#BookReview: Maman's Homesick Pie - Donia Bijan #BP2W (Iran)

Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1978, Donia Bijan and her family lived a charmed life in Iran.  You can hear the pride in her words as she writes of her doctor father and nurse mother who built a hospital from the ground up.  Raised in an apartment above the hospital, Donia and her sisters were raised not only by their parents, but by the nurses at the hospital as well.

Even as she plays the role of nurse and mother, Maman (I don't recall the author ever giving her actual name) also takes on women's issues and politics.  Not only does she serve on the board of several organizations fighting for women's rights, she becomes the director of Tehran's first nursing school and serves in parliament.  While all of these actions are notable, they also prove to be a factor in her family's exile from Iran.

Spanning her family's time first in Iran, then in Spain and finally in America (with an interlude in France), Maman's Homesick Pie is as much a love letter to the author's mother as it is a cookbook.  While her father wanted Donia to be a doctor, and was quite disappointed that she was not, her mother encouraged her love of cooking from a young age and went to great lengths to make sure her daughter could achieve her dream.

The end of each chapter includes a recipe or two that ties back to something the author has mentioned in that chapter.  She includes an anecdote about her mother or why she or her mother created the recipe.  Though some of the recipes didn't necessarily appeal to me, I did find myself dog-earing a few pages for recipes I definitely plan to go back and try.

Published: October 2011
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was forced into exile.  Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts - a popularly elected 86-member body of clerics. - CIA World Factbook

Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan
Size: 1,648,195 sq km; slightly smaller than Alaska
Population: 78,868,711
Ethnic groups: Persian 61%, Azeri 16%, Kurd 10%, Lur 6%, Baloch 2%, Arab 2%, Turkmen and Turkic tribes 2%, other 1%
Languages: Persian (official) 53%, Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects 18%, Kurdish 10%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 7%, Luri 6%, Balochi 2%, Arabic 2%, other 2%

Anthem: Soroud-e Melli-ye Jomhouri-ye Eslami-ye Iran (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran)

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