Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan
Donia Bijan grew up in a family that appreciated good food. Food to her was a language all of its own, it was used to celebrate as well as substantiate, is was used in times of great joy, and n times of sorrow. Growing up in Iran, Donia was surrounded by foods that were a part of her families life… loaves of bread were sliced in thick slabs and covered in fine cheeses and tomatoes, roasted duck, leg of lamb, homemade jams and fresh brewed teas were a breakfast staple. Her father, a doctor, would not have his family wasting money on foods they could buy on the streets when they could make their own mouthwatering delicacies better than any thing purchased. Her mother a nurse, would share her time between her family, the kitchen, and the hospital. Many childhood memories were in that kitchen as vegetables were cut for thick stews, and batters stirred for mouth watering baked goods.
Then in 1978 when the Islamic revolution threatened their safety, Donia’s family fled to California, where the food of then and now formed a bridge to the life they had left behind. Donia grew into a love for creating foods that created togetherness, and to her fathers disappointment (he wanted her to go into medicine) yet her mothers unending support, Donia took the steps needed to become the award winning chef she is today.
From the Persian world of her youth, to her new life in America this book walks up through Donia’s time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to apprenticeships in France’s three star kitchens, back to San Francisco where she opened her own now famous bistro.
My review for Weekend Cooking hosted over at Beth Fish Reads:
For a girl who does not really like to cook, I sure do read a lot of cooking related books. Honestly that baffles me a bit too… but as I type this and really think about it, I am mesmerized by those who can cook…those who can take a table full of ingredients and create a master piece.
I don’t think it is so much that I do not like cooking, as I have yet to find the patience it takes to do it right.
From the moment I laid eyes on this book I knew I wanted to read it. It sounded like the just the type of story I enjoy reading. Donia family brings to the table a memoir of family and traditions, and foods that would make the strongest of readers salivate page to page.
Along side Donia’s story of growing up surrounded by an appreciation for fresh foods, and wholesome meals, she leaves us with trails of recipes sprinkled throughout the pages. While some looked delicious but I felt I was not skilled enough to put it to the test, others sounded down right doable, and I put my basic skills to the test today of placing ingredients together to make the delectable Orange Cardamom Cookies along side the Persian Cardamom Tea…
the results were delicious. I think I now know what is going into my Christmas goody bags….
Donia’s story is an incredible journey that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a wonderful memoir filled with a family that feels like you are sitting at their glorious table.
Orange Cardamom Cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
grated zest of 2 oranges
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
Beat butter in a bow with an electric mixer until it whitens. Add the sugar and blend well. Add teh egg yolk and orange zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, cardamom, and poppy seeds. Once mixed, add to the butter mixture and mix until a dough like consistency.
Form the dough into two logs, roll in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, cut the chilled dough into 1/2 inch rounds and place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake 12 – 15 minutes until edges of cookie are golden brown. This dough will keep well in the freezer up to 3 weeks.
Persian Cardamom Tea
Bring kettle to a boil. Swirl some of the boiling water into teapot to warm it then dump water back into kettel. Measure 2 heaping teaspoons of Earl Grey tea leaves and 1 crushed pod of cardamom and place in tea pot. Add the boiling water to pot and let steep for ten minutes.
Pour a cup of tea and then pour tea pack into tea pot to to warm cup and to make sure color is even.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include Mamans’ Homesick Pie
I received this book as part of the Linus’s Blanket
and Devourer of Books Book Club