Saffron Daze

Iranian women’s memoir is a growing genre and i am thinking of writing one. Here’s an opener.

When I was growing up as a little girl in Iran, the scent of saffron was curiously absent from our kitchen. The kitchen was curiously absent from our home. And our home curiously, y’know, from our neighbourhood. Because my family didn’t occupy the Iran of my childhood so much as it occupied us.

To us, living a suburban idyll in Burbank, it was a dream. If truth be told I was allergic to saffron and we ordered pizzas most of the time. My parents were weekend potheads. Although none of us wore a headscarf, my father insisted upon donning one to work. ‘It’ll help you get a publishing deal,’ he said. And he was right. When I told my agent about my father’s Islamic cross-dressing he was bent over double laughing. I remember watching CNN when Princess Leia, sorry, Diana died in 1897.

Or was it 1997. (It’s the saffron I tell ya.) Earl Spencer, her brother, said she bent double laughing, just like my agent did. And when I think about it, I suppose I always wanted to be a princess’s brother, just like Earl Spencer. And when my agent heard this he rolled on the floor and started panting like a dog. ‘That’s publishing gold, ‘he said. We were sat at dinner once and my father asked me to pass the saffron.

I reminded him we weren’t that kind of rose-tinted Oriental family. I also asked him to take the headscarf off, enough went on in our home without him having to wear that. He threw it off. The next night he and my mother were stoned on the phone to the pizza company. It had been taken over by Iranians. They spoke in Persian and ordered anchovy with saffron. My childhood had come to an end.

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