My Story in Iran told in Pix | An Ice Breaker!
Hi y’all! Remember me? Of course not. I’ve been remiss and deserve not to have been missed.
Yadi. Yada. To break this dry spell I’m just going to share the photos that I have in the very first 3 rows of my photo library on my phone – without exercising judgement or discretion but hopefully not without some taste – and tell you the tale of each image.
By the way, yeah, I’m still in Iran and while we can never know the future I do plan to be here for the foreseeable part of it. Now let’s cut to the chase and check out the photos, starting with the very appetizing good-looking box of Persian pastries above which if you ever visit Iran and go to any city, big or small, you will see that every neighborhood boasts of at the very least a couple of pastry shops. The prevalence of pastry shops can be accounted for on one hand because Iranians have a sweet tooth and like to have a good time and indulge in sweet treats with tea, and for another, part of the Iranian culture and etiquette frowns on arriving empty handed and dictates showing up at the doorsteps of a host with a gift, often as not with a kilogram of these goodies. Oh goody!
Here’s a screen cap of my phone’s camera roll as proof so that you see I spoke the truth when saying I’m literally picking the first 3 rows of photos to blog about. A major bummer is that WordPress won’t let me post video files unless I fork over some money and I’m not in the mood to do so. The missing-in-action video (marked with green X in this pic) is a noisy but fun video showing a vignette of my street in the Amir Abad neighborhood in Tehran where I lived for a year. Once I resolve some technical difficulties I’ll upload and link to it on my YouTube channel where you can watch it and while there, you may find other videos to your liking from my slim but choice video uploads. For example, the one titled My Homesick Jourey to Iran. Part 1 is a fun one to watch.
OK, let’s move on to the next pic:
This is a total flash back photo for yours truly — harking to a year or so ago — when I was busy like a chicken without a head running a digital marketing company at M.A.P.S, one of the first private startup incubators in Tehran — an incubator housed in the actual family house of the founder and principal investor of the incubator. A caretaker family lived there as well – the kids always mixing with us – the father taking care of the office and the yard; and the mother made lovely homemade lunches for the whole gang of the employees of the various startups. This photo captures the tantalizing dish of macaroni tadig! Iranians love tadig so much we even make tadig with pasta! I ADORE this dish! If the pasta is just the right amount of succulent and the tadig part is just thick and crunchy enough, nothing tastes better. Macaroni tadig might be on my “last meal” list. A quite likely & choice candidate.
This next photo harkens to a get-together with 2 friends. We met up at a cafe in Tajrish Square – a northern neighborhood in Tehran – and looks like we ordered cantaloupe and watermelon juice. As you may know, alcoholic drinks are not served in Iran and that has led to the prevalence of cafes (as opposed to bars) as hubs of “happy hour” and informal hobnobbing and after work socializing. The cafes in Tehran, and increasingly in other major cities in Iran, are often quite cool, modern and with a fun vibe & ambiance – and where in addition to trendy caffeinated beverages one finds eclectic types of non-alcoholic libations to pick from.
This photo which makes me smile is a flashback still-life of notes decorated with cherry pits – a vignette from the work desk of Fati, aka @wiredCherry2. Ha ha! True to her nom-de-plume. Fati was the very first fellow Zeerak and the two of us were partners in crime and soldiered on through thick and thin and enjoyed many adventures and survived many mishaps together. The trials, tribulations and joys and pains of a startup in Iran. Again: Ha ha. I have to laugh and I am now thinking that I should write about this chapter of my life sometime. Maybe. Anyhow, if you’ve been reading along, you may remember Fati from the recipe posts of making grape leaves dolmeh and sharbat albaloo as well.
In this photo I was snapped unawares at an event for Crowdsourcing Week in Tehran by Nooshafarin Movafagh, who is a very talented photographer in addition to being a full time content creator at an agency and she also volunteers at cool events like TEDxTehran, etc.
Noosha, who I now count as a dear friend, also co-runs the Humans of Tehran — which you should totally check out. Photographic evidence indicates that instead of following the talk, I’m distracted, frowning and doing something or other on the phone. Something urgent I’m sure. Ah, the lure of the digital world.
Aside from banks, real estate agencies, delis and dried goods shops (known as “ajeel foroshi”) you will always easily find plenty of fruit and vegetable shops in every street in Iran. Iranian fruit vendors have their very own distinct style of offering their goods, generally opting to arrange the fruits in a mountain-top or pyramid type of shape. (Not really evident in this photo but true -take my word and I’ll try to offer photographic evidence later on as well.) In any event, care is usually taken to present fruits in a pleasing visual manner.
I have no idea when or where exactly I took shot, but it was somewhere in Tehran, & sometime in the summer judging by the fruits on display like grapes and cherries and peaches. And that’s all I have to say about this particular photograph.
Like I said in the paragraph above, you will be hard pressed not to easily find a pastry shop or dried goods store in any neighborhood in any part of Iran. And in this photo we have just a sliver of what’s possible to find at an “ajeel foroshi”– an establishment devoted to selling things like dried goods and mixed nuts, saffron, candy, chocolate gift boxes and a a whole host of other sundry goods in the same vein.
In this photo from left to right we have dried apricots, dried plums in the middle (don’t know what those little reddish square-shaped edibles are, but on top of those you can catch a glimpse of Kooloocheh pastries) and on the the right we have noghl, a type of Persian nibble-candy, made from almond slivers covered with hard coat of sugar candy, created in different shapes and sizes. Noghl has a very celebratory connotation as customarily a mixture of noghl and coin is a type of Persian wedding confetti that guests would shower the bride and groom .
In this photo, we have my cousin’s coffee table, laid out in a very traditional Persian-style of hostessing etiquette — with a visually pleasing and delectable array of treats ranging from a dish of fruits; a bowl of ajeel (mixed nuts and trail mix, persian style); biscuits; a lidded candy dish containing the aforementioned noghl candy nibbles. The remotes are also a throwback to ancient Persia. Ha ha. Kidding, of course! Just a little Persian food blogging humor.
Speaking of humor, let’s end on that note and bookend this ice-breaking long-time-no-see post with the visual and visceral yummy treat of Persian pastries. Between us, I confess this photo is making my mouth water and I’m harboring thoughts of making a mad dash to the neighborhood pastry shop. Consequences be damned! Very tempting. Hmmmm.
Anyway, friends, hope to chat with you sooner than later. I’m afraid to make any promises or declarations of intent, but I do hope to be back in the blogging groove and start writing recipe posts again as well.
Hope you liked this post and till soon!