The current (but not for much longer, this is a last-minute post) Cook the Books Club selection is Funny in Farsi, by Firoozeh Dumas.
A warmly funny memoir of her life growing up as an Iranian immigrant to America, I found this a very pleasant read. Even the parts that had the potential to be quite painful were told with a kindness and generosity of spirit that I found really winning.
The only downside, and it was a significant one in light of this book club, was that there wasn't nearly enough food. She refers to dishes quite often, but this is not the sort of memoir that contains long, loving, mouthwatering descriptions of family feasting. And since Persian cuisine contains a great many things that I absolutely love, that was a real loss for me!
Fortunately, Sabrina Ghayour, a UK-based foody of Iranian heritage, has just put out her first cookbook, Persiana. Now, I haven't actually acquired the book yet (it's on the list, but I have to make some space on the shelf before I get it!) but The Guardian ran a selection of recipes last month, and I knew that my Cook The Books meal would be constructed from that selection. I also knew there would be rice.
I made Sabrina's delicious lamb and sour cherry meatballs: what she says about kneading the mixture to make light meatballs works brilliantly. I also made her tomato salad with pomegranate molasses. I served it on a bed of buttery saffron rice, with a grated carrot salad (flavoured with cumin and orange flower water) on the side.