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Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen Hardcover – October 11, 2011
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“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 life’s 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. Bijan’s relationship with her parents during their grief as she came of age will feel familiar to many readers, but the details of Ms. Bijan’s 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 Bijan’s skillful hands ... recipes become a storytelling medium, and Maman’s 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
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
While Ms Bijan's memoir is captivating in and of itself, her exotic recipes included at the end of chapters are both slightly tipped with the savory and screaming to be tried in one's own kitchen. I can hardly wait to try her Cardamom Honey Madeleines. Proustians everywhere know of his love affair with Madeleines to begin with, so her distinctive twist of cardamom with trying out farmers' market honeys makes this recipe irresistible to me. We have a great farmers' market in Naples. Not to mention that I have a fabulous Madeleine pan I've never used!
What I found intriguing among so many things about this memoir is the tone of her literary "voice." I suppose I expected a lilting celebration of food and family...a "warm and inviting kitchen" experience as expressed on the cover review. Instead, Ms Bijan's telling of her past life as a refugee from revolutionary-torn Iran, to the shores of a hip and culturally shocking San Francisco, and an unimaginably glorious but difficult training in the bowels of kitchens in Paris, France, is somewhat maudlin. It's reflective. I found it a surprise, and a powerful memoir for that reason.
Food, studying the art of food preparation and restauranteering isn't what's important in her memoir, it seems to me.Read more ›
While on vacation in Spain in the 1970s, the Bijans got the word that Aytollah Khomeini's followers were rising up against the Shah and bombing establishments they believed to represent the evil Western influence. The Bijans' home was seized and their assets frozen; they were now refugees unable to return to their homeland. With her older sisters already in college in the U.S., 16-year-old Donia is sent to a Michigan boarding school, and eventually the entire family tries to rebuild their lives in San Francisco.
Maman's Homesick Pie is Donia's chronicle of her life in Iran and the U.S., her studies at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and her work as a chef in San Francisco. In some ways, it is also an ode to her parents, whom she regretted leaving in Spain, and especially her mother, who had always inspired Donia with her cooking and her hospitality.
The memoir is peppered with Persian inspired recipes such as as the Purple Plum Skillet Tart and Roast Duck Legs with Dates. My personal favorite, and the only recipes I've had the chance to make so far, is the Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant - quite delicious!
Maman's Homesick Pie is a joy to read - and cook from - and will especially appeal to readers who enjoy learning about historical events and foreign cultures. The hilarious descriptions of the differences between Persian and American definitions of hospitality alone make this book worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book shares the author's life story and many dramatic experiences perfectly blended in the context of her love for food in a multilayered yet sophisticated collection of short... Read morePublished 5 months ago by shahab kordouni
Everything to do with this books was perfect except for one small item, which I did not address to the seller. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Francine Thomann
Beautifully written, and evocative of so much! The author takes us into her life, her heart, and her kitchen with exquisite skill. Read morePublished 9 months ago by svkris
I am about to commence a search for pomegranate molasses, rose water, cardomon, pistachios and saffron. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Mariah MacKay
Interesting story with terrific recipes at the end of each chapter.Published 15 months ago by Grandma Bella
I bought this book excitedly. I found it is more of a reading book than a cookbook. It has recipes thrown in here and there but NOT a cookbook.Published on January 29, 2014 by Leala