Saveur Magazine, March 2010
I don’t even know where to begin this post. I suppose it’s best to start from the beginning!
One fine day last August I opened my email and my eye balls nearly fell off my eye sockets. I read the email in complete disbelief. I stared at it while batting my eyes. Then I got up, went straight to the kitchen and washed the pile of dishes in my sink. Just in case you are wondering, washing dishes doesn’t bring me any type of comfort, as a matter of fact I absolutely HATE washing dishes. But I needed something to distract me while I processed the email that I had just received.
The email was from the managing editor of Saveur Magazine. She was scheduled to visit LA in late August to do research for a special issue about Los Angeles. She needed someone knowledgeable about all things related to Persian food to show her around but also to connect her with a few well seasoned Persian cooks.
We exchanged some emails and set a date for what I dubbed as “Saveur Magazine Day.”
I can honestly say that “Saveur Magazine Day” was one of the most memorable and fun days of my whole entire life. It was an incredibly hot day in late August right in the middle of a heat wave that we were experiencing and to make matters even worst fires were roaring through the San Gabriel Mountains as well as in the close by Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Our day began at 10am in Hollywood where we first visited the famous Persian ice cream shop Mashti Malone. We then proceeded to go to Westwood, known as Little Tehran, where we had lunch at Shaherzad Restaurant.
After lunch we visited two of my favorite markets in Westwood, Super Tochal and Jordan Market. We the went to the shopping experience/battle royale called Elat Market. For those of you that live and frequent Elat Market, I am sure you will agree with me that going to this market is an adventurous experience!
Our next stop was Mrs. Noura Samimi’s house who was the first person to respond to my email seeking out experienced Iranian home cooks to be interviewed by the magazine. When we arrived to her home we were greeted with a divine glass of her own homemade Sekanjebin with grated cucumbers and mint. To say that it was the best drink to quench your thirst one a hot summer day is an understatement.
We spent the next few hours watching Mrs. Samimi make a delicious feast centered around Lubia Polow. She went all out making Mast-o-khiar, Borani Bademjan, Salad Shirazi, Kuku Kadoo, and no Persian table is complete without a nice platter of Sabzi and some Torshi, Persian vegetable pickles.
As I drove home that night every fiber in my being was tingling with excitement. I had just spent the most fantastic twelve hours breathing and talking about the food of my homeland. For the days and weeks that followed, all I talked about to anyone who cared to listen was “Saveur Magazine Day!”
A couple of weeks later I was still basking in the whole “Saveur Magazine Day” excitement when I received yet another email from the managing editor. This time she wanted to know if I was interested in writing the article that was going to be included in the issue about Persian food. Can you guess what I did as soon as I read that email? Yap, I got up and went to tackle the piles of dishes in my sink from my cooking session. I may have also done a chicken dance on my way to the kitchen while tears of excitement may have possibly streamed down my faced. Can I just remind everyone that all I wanted to be was an English instructor and that I started this blog because I was unemployed? Who would have ever known that I would get to the point where when you search for Persian food blog I am the one that comes up? Not me!!!
Fast forward a few months. Well that issue is now on the stands. I received a couple of copies of it in the mail yesterday!
You can also see their website by clicking here.
And the “windowsill geranium?” Here it is!
I can’t begin to tell you how much I fell in love with Mrs. Samimi. She was so generous with her time and cooked a fabulous meal with three curious, inquisitive, and hungry intruders in her kitchen, two of which (one being me!) took pictures, while the other took notes! We honestly did help doing some chopping and what not, but really she was the super star!
A couple of the sentences that I wrote, that didn’t make it into the final cut of the article, I think best describe Noura Khanoom and her family: ” I could have not asked for a more gracious and generous host. Noura and her family truly embody being “Samimi,” which in Farsi means “friendly.”
I am thankful to Saveur Magazine for having taken the time to familiarize themselves with Persian Cuisine and provide a forum to share our food. It is very important for me, and for the Iranian community, to be given the opportunity to showcase our delicious and rich food, but most importantly display a positive aspect of our culture which is seldom seen in the media.
I can’t conclude this post without acknowledging my appreciation and gratitude for YOU the readers. While this blog has given me a place to share my love for writing and cooking, the opportunity to keep it going and alive is thanks to all of the readers who stop by here every day, week, and month. Your continued support and encouragements keep me going and energized.
With much gratitude to you all,
Sanam Lamborn, aka The Chef