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Maman & Me: Recipes from Our Iranian American Family

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by Roya Shariat and Gita Sadeh
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This daughter-mother collaboration pays tribute to the home cooking of Iranian immigrants who forged a new home in the United States. It’s an attractive and appealing book which is proudly, firmly rooted in generations of Persian cooking but reflects adaptations to another continent.

Gita Sadeh, who came to the US as a young bride, is a resourceful cook who works without recipes: her daughter Roya worked closely with her to record and standardize more than 75 dishes to make them accessible to a younger generation of cooks, as well as anyone who did not grow up in an Iranian American household.

The food includes classics such as moraba havij, a carrot jam, and three types of tahdig, the caramelized bottom-of-the-pot crust, most often from cooked rice but, as we learn here, also possible with potatoes and tortillas. Salads and soups incorporating picked vegetables and dairy products are abundant.

But there are also adaptations of American dishes. We find that rosewater pairs beautifully with maple syrup in a pancake recipe, that wonton wrappers are more than handy for making the fried dumplings called sambusas, and that the restaurant staple shrimp scampi becomes escampi when it’s enlivened with turmeric and saffron.

Creative cooks have been finding inspiration in new ingredients for just about as long as anyone has been cooking, and it’s heartwarming to see this particular manifestation of that ancient approach.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout

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