Persian Food and Immigrants
This week I am sharing recipes from a lovely event hosted by none other than my mom-in-law, Martha Stewart of our family, known to us as Maman Jaleh or MJ for short. We gathered to learn how to make a couple of Iranian dishes and to taste and sample them. The food demo and lunch were a good excuse for a bigger cause. We were joined by Meena Sankaran of Prerna2inspire. Meena shared her personal journey and passion with all of us – to look after the well-being of underprivileged refugees and immigrants entering our country. The fundraiser lunch was planned months ago but the timing couldn’t have been any better with the current events taking place today in our nation. I was thoroughly impressed with what Meena, Prerna, and the team of volunteers working with this non-profit organization is doing right here in our area. I took the liberty of pasting the following quote from the Prerna’s home page:
We don’t choose to whom or where we are born. Refugees didn’t choose either, but life hasn’t been fair to them. As citizens of this globe and fellow human beings, let’s make a stand to help those who are less fortunate from a variety of nations.
This video does a nice job of summarizing:
MJ gave us a demonstration of how to make Baghali Polo (translated in English as ‘Rice with Fava beans’). She showed us how to make it in a pot with potatoes on the bottom (a delicacy called ‘tah-deegh’ translated as ‘bottom of the pot’). She also showed us how to make it in a rice cooker – the faster, easier method. I will be sharing the Rice Cooker version for preparing Fava Bean Rice. In the upcoming weeks I will also share a couple other yummy Persian recipes from the event – Kuku Sabzi (Persian spinach pie) and Mast-o-khiar (yogurt with cucumbers). Our girls love the yogurt dish. I was a diligent student, frantically taking notes and referencing MJ’s cookbooks. Being true to form I will first home test the recipes to be sure I have measurements down right. After testing and photo shooting I will publish the recipe posts for you all here on OvenHug.
Now for a quick back story –
My folks brought us here over 45 years ago. I was just a toddler. My dad worked very hard to become established as a physician and a surgeon in the U.S. in those early days. Being so young when we emigrated here I had it quite easy. I learned English close to the time most babies and toddlers are learning English. I assimilated very easily with the help of Sesame Street and preschool. Although my parents had their own struggles leaving their extended families and culture, for my brother and I it was not bad. We had stages of being teased and some rough years living in the midwest during the Iranian Hostage crisis when most Iranians didn’t want to admit they were from Iran. There were a couple years back then when we proclaimed to be Turkish – it was just simpler than going through any judgements. Overall, relative to what I’m seeing today, I had it quite easy. Our girls have it even easier. We live in a diverse and accepting area in California.
I feel a bond with those affected by recent border and immigrant controls. Maybe you have to have ‘foreign’ parents and relatives to feel compassion for those who are not in the home they are used to. I don’t want to believe this is true. We’re better than this. Let’s get back to equal opportunities FOR ALL regardless of religion or skin tone. As Americans we welcome those in need. After all, we are all immigrants and children of the same God.