A review and reading recommendation ...
"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