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    In America

    Hot dog
    What did you expect me to say, Ghormeh Sabzi?

    By Yasaman J.
    October 9, 1998
    The Iranian

    Ever since my son was born six years ago, I have been through an interesting journey with him. Being born and raised in Iran as a part of the majority Farsi-speaking Moslem population (although my family was never religious) it has been interesting and sometimes heartbreaking to see my son grow up as a first generation hyphenated American.

    He is trying so hard to fit in, where as a child it came so easy and effortlessly to me and I took it for granted in such a careless and delicious way.

    Roshan did not speak English until he was almost four. It breaks my heart to remember his beautiful Farsi with no American accent. As soon as he picked up English though, as if to make up for lost time, he dropped his Farsi all together.

    The only person who still gets a response in Farsi from him is his Azizam (Grandma) who has pretended she does not know one word of English which leaves him with no choice but to speak to her in Farsi.

    Azizam is also a great cook and Roshan loves her Persian cooking. One day when he was about four years old, I took him to the library to see a puppet show. The performer went around the room asking the same question from each child: "What is your name? What is your favorite food?" When he asked my son, he got up and said that his name was Roshan and his favorite food was Hot Dog.

    The next day we were visiting Azizam and we told her about the program and what Roshan's answers had been. Azizam turned to Roshan with surprise and said: "Gofti Hot Dog doost dari?" (You said your favorite food was Hot Dog?) Roshan raised his hands in the air and turning them around in a very Iranian gesture answered: "Pas mikhaasti begam Ghoreh Sabzi?!" (What did you expect me to say, Ghormeh Sabzi?!)

    As I watch Roshan grow up and try to figure out his place in this country and in this world , I keep hoping that one day soon he will be strong enough to stand up and say that his favorite food is in fact Ghormeh Sabzi. Until then Hot Dog will do.


    * Also by Yasaman J
    "... why did you and baba leave?"
    If it was so great...

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