The New York Times:
“You may attend school in America,” my mom regularly told me and my brothers when we were kids in our native San Diego, in the 1980s, “but when you come home, you’re in Iran.” Accordingly, we spoke Farsi, and attended Persian school on Saturdays to learn to read and write the language; we listened to classical Persian setar music; and celebrated Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
But certainly, the most powerful form of cultural immersion we experienced was culinary. My mom, who left Iran in 1976, steeped us in the smells, tastes and traditions of Persian cuisine. She spent hours upon hours each week traversing not just San Diego but also Orange County and Los Angeles, over 100 miles away, in search of the flavors that reminded her of Iran. She taught us that regardless of what was going on in the news, home is home, and nothing can transport you there like taste.
In Irvine, she found a bakery making fresh sangak, a giant dimpled flatbread named for the pebbles that line the oven floor on which the slabs of dough are baked. She’d line us all up there on weekend mornings so that each of us could order the three-per-person maximum — 12 pieces being enough to justify the hour-and-a-half-long drive for bread.
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