Only five days left till the Persian new year, Norooz, celebrated by some 187 million people across the globe on the first day of spring, this year on March 20th. And right now, in every Iranian’s household at least one person is quite busy (you know who that person is, right) – from shopping new cloths, to cleaning house to preparing haftsin table, tending to sabzeh and of course painting hard boiled eggs. Watch my brief video clips here here for a colorful introduction of Norooz celebration and here for a “very fast” preparation of Norooz table! Don’t forget to check out the links below for Norooz-special blogs by my friends at #PersianFoodBloggers.
From ancient time, dyeing and decorating eggs has been a significant symbol in many cultures around the world – from the Zoroastrian Norooz dating back to over 3000 years ago, to the Jewish Passover to the Christian Easter, eggs are painted in solid or multicolored often to symbolize rebirth. In my youth time, my older sisters used to dye Norooz eggs by wrapping them in color bleeding pieces of brightly colored cloths, tightly sewing them in and hard boiling them in salted water. The cooled eggs would then emerge from the wet cloths delicately colored and patterned. In my household too, we usually take the egg painting quite seriously, often going to some length to actually paint the eggs in detailed and complicated designs. Watch some of those here. Read the rest of this entry »
Sensory cues are powerful mediums for setting moods and evoking emotions because they possess within themselves the magical quality of carrying small pockets of memories across time and space -memories inhabited by peoples, places, and events; memories which might be pleasant or sad; familiar or rare.
To me, the scent of cinnamon and apple promises the prospect of baking in a cozy kitchen on a beautiful cool autumn day. The scent of old vinegar, when trapped in a cabinet, always transports me back in time to my childhood when I visited my aunt’s old house and held my breath while playing seek and hide in her food storage lined with tens of “torshi” ceramic jugs. Read the rest of this entry »
I finally got to travel to Vancouver after so many years of residing in Canada and so many attempts to go and visit there. The nature and the city is diverse, lively and just magnificent! Here is a small sample of what I captured through my lenses At: Suspension Bridge, Granville Island, Victoria Ferry, Butchart Garden, Sea to Sky gondola and trail, Whistler Village, Stanley Park, English Bay Beach and more!
Please click on the first image to activate the slide show!
… and a very short video
[Please click on the first image below to activate the slide show!]
I miss Bushehr, the seaport where in my parents were born and my family’s heritage is anchored. I miss its narrow rundown alleys, its hot humid climate, and the noisy air-conditioners waging war with the heat most of the year.
I miss my long walks along the shore where people camped and fished and worried and laughed, and where, came the evening, the flaming sun on the horizon touched down and sank into the sea, with that unique almost audible “jzzz….”
I lovingly miss Bushehr’s fresh vegetable market tainted with the stink of fish and shrimp.
And above all, I miss the taste of those hard-earned, deadly spicy-hot foods, offered in the crowded sofreh with open hearts and smiling faces.
[Pictures taken by my sister, in 2012. Thank you Pari!]
As you might have noticed, I have a face book page for this blog which until recently was used for the sole purpose of reflecting the contents of this blog. Over the past few months however, I have increased my facebook page activities. I first started with sharing interesting articles, or photographs on food cultures around the world, as well as innovative cuisine from other blogs – the kind of entries that did not have room in my blog but certainly was worth sharing.
Presently, I am also sharing in my facebook page, my own posts as well. These entries are very “short and sweat” so to speak, like a quick tip on how to make walnuts look and taste fresh, here; or a nice picture of Iris in bloom and what they represent, here. These entries are occasional, and might be temporary; I need to share them but they are not “big” or “deep” enough in my mind to occupy a blog space.
Anyhow, I just wanted to keep you posted of the recent development in case you did not know. BTW, you could always follow me there, by liking my page 😉
I must start by admitting that in the past 30 or so years of preparing my family’s Norooz /Nowruz table on 20 March for Persian New Year, I have never bought goldfish, despite the widespread practice. When I was younger, I discouraged and prevented my parents to do so and when I was younger still, I used to dread waking up one morning after Norooz Day and finding the goldfish floating sideways on the top of the tank – a fact that was bound to happen sooner or later and ruin the rest of my holidays. See? Super-sensitive to the core since time immemorial! Now, back to our discussion:
In the past few years an increasing number of bloggers and online campaigners have been urging people in Iran to stop buying goldfish as a part of their Norooz table (haft-sin). The reasons given against buying goldfish is manifold with the focus being on the unethical nature of the practice. [Sight of relief. Finally!]
I mean, common, is it so hard to figure out? A goldfish imprisoned in a jar is the saddest thing in the world! Why do I want to exhibit it in my exhilarating colorful Norooz table? By the same token, Norooz itself is much more than a celebration of Persian New Year; it is the celebration of nature, of the re birth, and rejuvenation, of hope and wealth, health, beauty, purity and happiness that comes with it. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure a captive goldfish does not belong there!
And I am not even talking about the miserable conditions that the poor thing is industrially farmed before being sold; the conditions that it is being kept during its short life at hands of curious children, examining it every so often, etc.
According to online campaigners, each year five million goldfish are killed around Norooz. FIVE Million only in Iran. That’s too depressing. No, I would say, keeping goldfish is not refreshing on any happy Noroozi table in any part of the world. Read the rest of this entry »