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1 Home & Garden Cooking and Food- Gastronomic Literature

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Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen


Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen Cover

ISBN13: 9781565129573
ISBN10: 1565129571
Condition: Standard
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Denise Morland, December 30, 2011 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
Maman's Homesick Pie is Donia Bijan's very personal memoir of being forced to leave her home in Iran as a teenager during the revolution in the 1970's. The story begins with her charming, quirky and busy childhood. Her parents built a hospital and almost singlehandedly ran it, doctoring, cooking, bandaging, and administering all while raising their family in an apartment on the top floor. It continues through her family's exhile to the US, her own struggles to become a chef and her mother and father's struggles to find a place for themselves in America.

This is a lighthearted memoir despite touching on the Iranian Revolution and her father's emotional displacement. Donia and her mother comfort themselves and create homes around the food they remember and new dishes they invent. Everything is seen through the prism of food and the descriptions are lush and nostalgic. The recipes look both relatively simple and appealingly exotic.

Maman's Homesick Pie will satisfy the many fans of food memoirs with its warmth, generosity, and lovely food writing.
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Virginia Campbell, December 17, 2011 (view all comments by Virginia Campbell)
"Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen", by Donia Bijan, is exquisite. If I could, I would give it a "10 star" review! Both beautiful and heartbreaking, this very personal story is as emotional as it is entertaining. More than a memoir, it is a celebration of food, life, and indomitable human spirit. No one has a perfect family. The more we try to deny that we are like our mother, the more we become our mother. I don't think we really appreciate our elders until we have ourselves "gently matured". The introduction of "Maman's Homesick Pie" tells of the author's experience in packing up her mother's things after her mother's death. The memories that came rolling in like unstoppable waves as she touched all the "treasures" that her mother had saved through the years were met with both laughter and tears. The story is remarkable in the telling of what the author's family life was like before they were forced into exile from their native Iran and how they later found a new life in California. It is amazing in how the human spirit can renew itself and not only survive, but thrive. The ways in which the author's mother learned to adapt and combine two cultures in cooking and other aspects of life is inspiring, and it is also a thoughtful source of enlightenment about human dignity. The preparation and sharing of food is an innate, intuitive, and instinctive process. Food is present for all the important occasions in our lives, both joyful and sad. For me, this book was a lovely, lyrical introduction to another culture and also greater insight into the culinary world. Even though we are very different, in many ways we face the same life issues. Women need to support each other. We understand each other in ways that men cannot always comprehend. As I write this review, it is a cold, wintry day here in the mountains of Virginia. I have a pot of vegetable-beef soup simmering on the stove, and the combined smell of bay leaves and other savory ingredients is swirling around me as I put together my thoughts. As if that wasn't enough of a treat, I just took two loaves of yeasty, crusty bread from the oven. Simple food, yet soulful and satisfying. Food is a universal communicator, even when it is spoken in different languages. Donia Bijan's recipes, along with "Maman's", are tempting me to cook outside my "kitchen box"! The only thing better than reading this book would have been to taste the food as I read the story. "Maman's Homesick Pie" is a wonderful gift from author Donia Bijan. It is absolutely perfect for lovers of food and books--just like me. It is especially touching for those of us who had someone like "Maman", and it is even more poignant for those who long for the special magic of someone as unequaled and irreplaceable as "Maman".

Review Copy Gratis Algonquin Books

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Product Details

Bijan, Donia
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Biography - General
Cooking and Food-Asian
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Cooking
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Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » Asian

Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - English 9781565129573 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As a chef, Bijan is known for blending the cultures and cuisines of the places she's called home: Iran, France, and America. She does the same in her wonderfully written memoir, sharing memories of her childhood in Iran that are so well rendered, readers will easily envision her father making a simple, sumptuous salad or her mother offering bites of delicious seasonal cheeses. Her parents, well-respected founders of a busy obstetric hospital, were named as infidels during the Islamic revolution, so the family fled to California in 1978. Bijan writes movingly of her parents' accomplishments, their difficulty adjusting to their new home, and her own burgeoning love of food and cooking. What began in her parents' kitchen in Iran continued in America, and took her to Paris and the famed Cordon Bleu school. After apprenticeships in France and California, Bijan was chef at a high-end San Francisco hotel and had her own well-reviewed bistro for a decade. Like the perfect dessert, each chapter ends with recipes, from a pomegranate granita she savored in Iran to cardamom honey madeleines evocative of France." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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