Baba is Persian for “dad.” You could also say pedar which means father – but it’s more formal and not often used in everyday intimate parlance. When we first moved to the U.S., I got embarrassed to call my father “baba” when out-and-about in public (another story, another day!) and took to calling him pedar instead and it became a habit that seeped into my ordinary private address of him as well, but it always felt prickly on my tongue – so I finally got over it and went back to baba right-fast. Because when one’s an irooni, one’s father is baba or baba joon — simple as that.
As for Baba Bee, that’s a nickname we made up for the word baba bozorgh (big baba!) which means grandfather in Persian.
Baba is a man of moderation when it comes to food – I’ve never seen him over indulge, not even once, no matter how small or great the temptation, BUT, he must must must have 3 meals a day whatever-may-come-rain-hail-or-shine — the idea of skipping a meal tantamount to sacrilege and cause to be crestfallen; and by golly, he wants, nay, needs his torshi and sabzi and salad at every supper. The existence of these culinary accoutrements at the dinner table possibly a testament to an order of a type that as a disciplined, organized person he finds reassuring? One can only conjuncture – but there’s also the simple matter that they do enhance the pleasure of every meal! So there’s that.
Baba knows how to cook – a secret talent revealed to us the first time Maman was away on a long trip back to Iran – he cooks while often raising an eyebrow in quizzical concentration as if trying to remember something essential, but still, he cooks well. And possibly because it is a rare occurrence, I am always charmed by his cookery. In general though, Maman did all the cooking, although when it came to making fereni and shir berenj, she defered to Baba, saying “that’s really your father’s specialty.” Speaking earlier of torshi (Persian pickles & tangy preserves) that’s something Baba likes to make, sometimes by himself, sometimes Maman and Baba together.
One fun food-type thing Maman Baba do every summer is that they trek to a sour cherry orchard (bagheh albaloo!), often times with a few friends, and return home with buckets and buckets of bright red juicy tangy albaloo, and together — like good busy bees, in perfect harmony — they make fast work of prepping the bucket-loads of sour cherries:
De-seeding a whole bunch to store and freeze in ziplog bags ready to be turned into yummy sour-cherry rice in the future; making sharbat ‘eh albaloo (sour cherry syrup- the base for making a super popular Persian summertime beverage) and moraba albaloo (sour cherry jam – my mom’s quickie version of it) with another whole bunch of sour cherries; and gobbling up the rest of the albaloo – fresh, sprinkled with just a hint of salt. I hope to accompany them this year and document the process properly. Inshallah! Until then, I do have some wonderfully-blurry (pre Pinterest/ Instagram/ blogging days) of this albaloo-processing escapade to share:
Baba has so far given me two recipes (with super-cute names) for this blog — specific to the Kermanshah region of Iran whence he hails from. They are among my very favorite recipes- making for simple, fun, bright, delicious food that I had not tasted prior to his introduction. In honor of Father’s Day, I asked him for other recipe ideas and he did not disappoint – suggesting a couple of interesting dishes. Alas, I have to defer those to another day, another time, as I kind of have to wrap-up this post today. So, instead, I’ll just re-share the two Baba-given veggie/vegan Kermanshahi recipes – and encourage you to try them, as they are easy and GOOD:
Wishing you all a very Happy Fathers Day!
Hip hip hooray for all the wonderful fathers – those we are fortunate to have around and those who are alive in hearts.