I believe this.
Y’all. I’m excited to share the news that a few months ago I got the chance to work with the wonderful team (editor and art director) of Brownbook (a cool online & print lifestyle guide to the Middle East) to write & photograph an article for the Tehrangeles-themed issue #41 of their magazine.
Tehrangeles is a hybrid (Tehran + Los Angeles) nickname that’s a wink-wink nod to the fact that more Iranians live in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the world outside of Iran — an interesting statistic that is the direct outcome of the exodus of 1979. (Why did so many self-exiling Iranians pick the city of angels as a landing pad? I don’t know and I do wonder about that. We almost ended up there as well except that my mother vetoed the move but that’s another story entirely.)
The striking cover image — “Hybrid Girl 1″ — is a work by the artist Shirin Aliabadi. Someone on Facebook questioned the aptness of the choice – making a valid point that Iranian women in Los Angeles (or anywhere outside of Iran for that matter) do not cover up with hijab. But: poetic license and all that. Personally, I love it! It’s odd and bold. Eye-candy, in the best sense of the word.
The magazine was published in early September but available for purchase here in the U.S., this past week. Finally!
My contribution to the issue was to photograph and write about the Persian beverage sharbat ‘e sekanjabin: a classic, delicious type of sharbat, unique in that it can also be served as a dip with fresh crispy romaine lettuce leaves — praised by Ibn Sina; coveted and copied by the ancient Romans; imbibed by wise Iranians in the hot months of summer — made with honey and vinegar and sprigs of fresh mint.
Here are a couple of outtakes:
The issue is jam-packed with interesting features and images. I loved it all, specially the Kish Island feature; the bit about Mashti Malone’s Persian ice cream parlor; the interview with Arash Davari, editor of Bitaarof magazine; and the intro essay by Porochista Khakpour. But I have to say that I was most intrigued by the profile on (and as a result am currently borderline obsessed with) Ana Lily Aminpour, a filmmaker who’s created the first Iranian Vampire Western! (WHAT!) I can’t wait to see it and I want to watch all of her short films as well, including Pashmaloo, which means “hairy” in Persian and is a word that does not cease to delight me.
This was my first print publication and I’m tickled pink to be included in this terrific issue and in such good company. A meaningful personal milestone that I thank you for letting me share.
In conclusion, as someone more articulate than moi put it: “Pick up a copy and help keep print alive!”
I posted this to Fig & Quince earlier today (for those of you who subscribe to both blogs) and for a handful of you this is old boring news as well (so y’all, please just ignore this!) but for those falling in neither camp, here’s the story:
Recently, the wonderful editors of Mashallah News — an online publication devoted to shaking up Middle Eastern stereotypes — asked for a contriubtion to their “food” theme series. I was only too glad to oblige, and a nostalgia-fueled rhapsody of the poetics of Persian food was thus born!
I would be delighted if you would read it, so, begging your kind indulgence, it follows in its entirety below.
“I dwell in possibility”
A poem – by the one and only Emily Dickinson
Look at this bunch of glorious sweet basils, thyme and mint! I don’t know whether to look at it or eat it and I long to do both. A thing of beauty! I was given it by a friend – who had just picked them fresh from her garden, rinsed them, and then handed them to me tied up in a lovely bouquet rivaling what one might find at an artisanal flower shop. Just one of the many perks of having such a lovely neighbor. I have to tell you that the absolute pleasure of the surprise recipt of this luscious fragrant bunch of fresh garden-grown herbs was one of the purest delights of this weekend. A further delight to come is the fresh herb salad I’m planning on for dinner. Perfect for a hot summer night. Oh my tummy tum: wait till you see! Thank you Suzanne!
It pretty much kills me to be succinct, so, as long as I’m up here, I’m thinking why not share some other snapshots of this weekend as well:
There definitely were batches and batches of banana chocolate chip mini muffins made to mark the half-birthday of a certain someone whose actual birthday I’d missed. A certain someone who literally “GOBBLED UP” a couple of the muffins until restrained.
My sweet potato officially turned into a mouse. I now call him Moosh. I wrote a “poem” inspired by this metamorphosis. Will share it once I’ve turned it into an animated GIf.
For example, Moosh thinks it’s unbelievable that Anthony Weiner, the supreme jerk who literally exposed his weiner, is actually running for mayor of New York City. “It turns my stomach to think that a bozo like him might possibly be the mayor of our awesome city.” Monster meanwhile thinks: “Who gives a rat about politics.” Monster says: “Who cares. Weiner didn’t break any laws. None of it matter anyhow. They are all the same.”
They get entangled in an argument.
Soon they settle back into their friendly and comfortable silence. Monster takes a nap while Moosh quietly worries.
ps Thank you Suzanne for the truly lovely gift of fresh herbs. Love love LOVE!
pps Moosh and Monster are entirely fictitious characters. Any resemblance to real sweet potatoes, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
ppps This post is simultaneously published on my Persian food & Stories blog: Fig & Quince
Also, I’d like to note that:
The Muslim holy month of fasting commences tomorrow. Happy Ramadan & Ramadan Mobarak to all observers.