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Moral dilemma
To give them an Iranian recipe or not to give them an Iranian recipe?

August 29, 2002
The Iranian

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 x


Shappi Khorsandi is a standup comedian in the UK. She performed at an event in Berkeley, California, on August 18, 2002.

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