Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

November 21, 2013

Persian dinner set to benefit Iranian student

My immigrant mother taught me that there is no better way to enjoy life than to cultivate friends through food.

During my Detroit area childhood, the Eastern European accents and food of my parents, family and their friends set the stage: I became a collector of the foreign and exotic.

As a young woman, I traveled to foreign countries and developed a passion for other cuisines. When traveling became less frequent, I collected cookbooks and prepared meals from other cultures; eventually I turned to teaching and writing about them. Hearing a slight accent in someone’s English is reason enough for me to beg a new foreign acquaintance to cook with me, or to issue him or her an invitation for dinner.

Imagine my delight when long-time friend, colleague and chef, Lynne Brach, asked me to join in preparing a Persian meal with Iranian student Nayereh Doosti for her fellow students at The Leelanau School. My heart leapt at the chance to meet this young Iranian and try my Persian cooking skills on her experienced palate and at hearing her stories of life in a very foreign culture — hers and ours. Although many in the United States have negative associations with Iran and other cultures, I have found that by shifting my focus from divisive politics to everyday people I’ve been able find warm and meaningful cultural connections.

Iran is a small part of what was the great, ancient Persian Empire, which at its height encompassed three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. At its greatest, the empire included modern-day Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and ancient Egypt as far west as Libya. In 1935 Persia officially changed its name to Iran (Land of Aryans), which is its name in Farsi.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad