I started to fall in love with food and eating when I turned seven years old and moved from Iran to Germany. I got off the plane and the first thing I smelled was the scent of bananas. Then, I saw them. Hanging (by what seemed like the ton) outside a cafe of the Frankfurt Airport, bright yellow and fragrant as ever. I came from a country where food was rationed to what seemed a fairy tale planet – a world where the most exotic foods were readily available and at our finger tips. Sausages, chocolate, freshly baked Kaiser buns…needless to say, I was a chubby child.
My household was “food-centric”, a lineage that began with my Grandmother, who married my Grandfather (she was 15 and he was 20 years old) and taught herself all the major Persian and North Iranian dishes that exist in traditional Persian cooking. Then she perfected them, being known as one the best cooks in her circles. To boot, she was beautiful, smart, and financially savvy. Everyone tried to duplicate her recipes, but no one had the magic touch (it’s very important as an Iranian to dramatize all stories related to cooking.) I will never forget the story which was actually told to me by the perpetrator herself: to ruin my Grandmother’s rice, her sister-in-law crept into the kitchen unbeknownst to my Grandmother and took it upon herself to spoil her infamous rice recipe by adding an extra cup of water while my Grandmother’s back was turned. My Grandmother was completely shocked at the fact that her rice was mushy, but even under such circumstances, she managed to fix the issue. Without formal education or training of any kind, she was and remains the most gifted cook I know.
Today, I’m a registered dietitian and Mother of three young children. My family is my favourite test kitchen panel and I am so grateful to them for enjoying both the “hits” and the “misses” of my food experiments. Needless to say, although I am a passionate foodie and cook, as well as a dedicated nutrition professional (I have worked in every area of dietetics including private practice, industry, hospital, diabetes community care, and long term care), I am not particularly gifted in that effortless, natural way my Grandmother was. I work hard, I stay up long hours, and I try, try, try over and over again to get the recipes right. I read everything related to food and the practice of nutritional science, trying to keep as current as possible in a techie world that is flowing faster than wine on a Friday night. I try to marry art, science, tradition, culture, and all the other powerful connotations food evokes but I do this through ongoing exploration, not through intuition or natural gift.
Since starting this blog in 2010, I have learned so much from its loyal readers and I am so thankful to everyone who takes the time to read my posts, try my recipes, and give me their thoughts. To those who are just browsing, I hope some of my recipes, articles, and editorials and somehow inspire you to bring food into your world in a special way: to question, trial, and learn something new, but also to eat well.