Synopses & Reviews
For Donia Bijan's family, food has been the language they use to tell their stories and to communicate their love. In 1978, when the Islamic revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California's Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan's mother's cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her mother, whose love and support enabled Bijan to realize her dreams.
From the Persian world of her youth to the American life she embraced as a teenager to her years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (studying under the infamous Madame Brassart) to apprenticeships in France's three-star kitchens and finally back to San Francisco, where she opened her own celebrated bistro, Bijan evokes a vibrant kaleidoscope of cultures and cuisines. And she shares thirty inspired recipes from her childhood (Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant and Orange Cardamom Cookies), her French training (Ratatouille with Black Olives and Fried Bread and Purple Plum Skillet Tart), and her cooking career (Roast Duck Legs with Dates and Warm Lentil Salad and Rose Petal Ice Cream).
An exhilarating, heartfelt memoir, Maman's Homesick Pie is also a reminder of the women who encourage us to shine.
"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.
"Bijan discovers a way back to home and what it means to belong. A memoir both universal and intimate, anchored in history and lifted by the mysterious elements that only occur in a warm and inviting kitchen." --Marsha Mehran, author of Pomegranate Soup
"I can already feel the big heart in this story, the delicious recipes, and the story of an amazing woman whom we all wish we had known." --Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi
“Treat yourself to this delectable debut. Bijan recounts her journey from well-off Iranian schoolgirl to teenager in America taking refuge from her countrys upheaval to restaurateur and mom. But ultimately this memoir is a loving tribute to her mother, her heritage—and food. Pour yourself a cup of cardamom tea (recipe included), and indulge in this savory slice of life.” —Family Circle
“Chapter by chapter, Bijan recreates the memory-menu of her life, incorporating recipes for the dishes that most poignantly capture the past for her. By its heart-plucking end, this literary feast accomplishes what only the best meals do, bestowing not only a satisfying culinary experience but also a larger appreciation of lifes precious table.”—National Geographic Traveler
"I closed the book feeling like the author had just been sharing memories and recipes with her many friends of the world, and that I was now one of them."
—The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"In its profound understanding of how food connects us to the past and future and to the places and people we love, Maman's Homesick Pie gets to the very heart of why recipes and food—and the stories we tell about them—matter so much."—Literary Mama
"Maman's Homesick Pie is one of the best food memoirs I have read . . . The recipes at the end of each chapter add surprising depth to her story."—Largehearted Boy
“The push-pull of Ms. Bijans relationship with her parents during their grief as she came of age will feel familiar to many readers, but the details of Ms. Bijans life will not.”—The New York Review of Books
“A lyrical memoir by an acclaimed San Francisco chef.” —St. Petersburg Times
“The memoir smoothly combines stories of Bijan's childhood in Iran and transitions to life in America with pieces of her parents' lives, and the family's migrations after the loss of their homeland… They are the quietly compelling stories of an ordinary family dealing with extraordinary circumstances. Memories of family are inextricably linked to food — the smells, the flavors, the look and feel of a dish — and Bijan brings foods both mundane and exotic to life in the pages.”
“An elegant memoir.” -Hudson Valley News
“In Bijans skillful hands ... recipes become a storytelling medium, and Mamans Homesick Pie is at once a compelling portrait of her remarkable Iranian parents, a chronicle of her culinary career from a stagiaire (an unpaid apprenticeship) in France to award-winning chef and restaurateur in Palo Alto, and a lavish taste of Persian culture and cuisine... A compelling, poignant and most delectable book.” —BookPage online
A “wonderfully written memoir ... so well rendered ... Bijan writes movingly of her parents' accomplishments, their difficulty adjusting to their new home, and her own burgeoning love of food and cooking ... Like the perfect dessert, each chapter ends with recipes.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Donia Bijan graduated from UC Berkeley and Le Cordon Bleu. After presiding over many of San Francisco's acclaimed restaurants and earning awards for her French-inspired cuisine, in 1994 she opened her own restaurant, L'amie Donia, in Palo Alto. She now divides her days between raising her son, teaching, and writing.