To give them an Iranian recipe or not to give them an Iranian recipe?
August 29, 2002
On Monday morning my plane landed at Heathrow airport at 6.25 am and I felt my jolt
back to reality as clearly as I felt the wheels hit the tarmac.
I had been daydreaming that I single handedly out-witted and overcome hijackers on
the plane who now lay bound and gagged ready for the police to take them in (incidently,
neither of them wore beards). My fellow passangers were all saved and I was to be
greeted at Heathrow by well-wishers, the media, and perhaps even the Queen, all there
to give me a hero's welcome and I would coyly shrug and say "anyone else would
have done the same thing". But everyone would know that only a VERY brave person
would have done what I did.
After my usual count to fifty (fifty seconds being the
time period after landing and take-off that a plane is most likely to blow up, should
it decide to do so)I debated whether to tell the gentleman next to me that his snoring
had seriously agitated me throughout the ten-hour flight and perhaps that was the
real reason his wife left him (he was awake for long enough to tell me that she had
ran off with his brother-in-law. Oh, and that he is allergic to strawberries.)
I decided not to tell him and instead used the rest of our taxi to think over my
trip to San Francisco. I had a great time, not merely because I had chelo kababs
four times in one week.
I have said this before and will say it again: Why do chelo Kababis give you menu
to look at?
We all know what we are going to have before we sit down. And why, after almost thiry
years of regular kebabing, do I dutifully look over the menu for sometime, then politely
ask for exactly what I always ask for -- a Soltani.
Do I think that one day I'll just go a little crazy and order a Ghormeh Sabzi? Nah,
that's for those who can't get that at home. I have always regarded it a kind of
blasphemy to order a khoresh dish at a chelo kababi. The khoresh are strictly for
Western patrons for whom kidney beans hold exotic appeal.
This talk of food brings me to the moral dilemma I am currently faced with...
Some culturally aware English friends of mine who are culinary experimentalists,
are getting married. They have asked all their guests to write down their favorite
recipes and submit them to the bride and groom who will compile a cook book as a
momento of their special day.
Nice idea, but I am torn. To give them an Iranian recipe or not to give them an Iranian
recipe? What if they make it wrong?
What if they make it right and Iranian food becomes as popular as Indian or Chinese
food? We will see our classic Iranian dishes anglosised as Chinese and Indian food
have been (no-one has heard of 'chicken chow mein' in China, and in India, 'tandoori
chicken' is only served in English restaurants)
If I submit a Persian recipe, we may soon see cajun flavoured Ghormeh Sabzi or Khoresh
Gheymeh with a side of fries served from counters in shopping malls. Horror!
After much thought, I have decided to go for the Salad Olovier option. The recipe
is pretty easy and I've often questioned it's authenticity as a Persian dish (what
on earth is an 'olovier' anyway?)
Now I can enjoy my friends' wedding knowing I am perserving Iranian cultural heritage.
God Bless Food,
Shappi Khorsandi is a standup comedian in the UK. She performed at an iranian.com
event in Berkeley, California, on August 18, 2002.