I have asked my mother for a cookbook, “The Art of Cooking” by Roza Montazami, which I just realized holds a title very similar to Julia Child’s. Iranians never were good at respecting copyright issues, but I don’t know, so shame on me for making assumptions and stereotyping. While we are on the subject of piggy-backing off of what has already been said and done by others, why not I cook my way through it, like the already been-there-done-that Julie/Julia Project, what Julie Powell did with Child’s French recipes? But 365 days of rice based meals would do no good. By the time of our wedding, the guinea pig and I would be the fattest couple to wed, with our stomachs five steps ahead of us walking down the aisle. Hell, I’ve cut down on the bacon fat already. I shall take it slowly, one recipe per week give or take, depending on time and grocery access, because in the upper valley, there aren’t many middle eastern specialty stores. You have to drive either three hours north to Montreal, or two hours south to Boston for that. And I’m not saying I won’t.
The thought, of asking for the cookbook, struck me during our phone conversation. With an over eight hour time difference, I can’t pick up the phone at anytime and call my mother at times of desperation, like with my ghormeh sabzi incident. Typically, she calls me in the mornings, her late evenings. When I boasted how I made it from as scratch as possible, (well, except for having grown my own herbs), she said, “You know originally ghormeh sabzi didn’t even have spinach. They use that for it’s water content. I think it takes away from the aroma of the herbs though.” What are mother’s for but to shut you down at the height of your excitement? When the guinea pig and I visited for 10 days during the winter holidays, my mother made a big batch of ghormeh sabzi, the best anyone had ever had and couldn’t get enough of, and my friends cordially invited themselves over for the leftovers the following afternoon as well. She told me that that did not contain spinach, and generosity with the cilantro is what made it so irresistible So I thought, I need a reference for times when I can’t reach my mother, because what you can find on Persian cuisine through a google recipe search is of no use. I have sent her on a quest, either to buy me a copy, or more romantically, find me her old, shabby copy, neglected in one of the storage room boxes, after having travelled from Tehran to San Diego and Chicago and back. Wish me luck. I’m secretly rooting for the latter, hoping that same book finds its way to Hanover, New Hampshire in a couple of weeks.