B is for Baba & Baba is Baba Bee – Happy Father’s Day!

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:

In conclusion:

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.

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Comments (24)

  • leduesorelle 9 years ago Reply

    Lovely, thank-you Azita for sharing your father with us! So lucky that you still have him to pass on all of this wonderful food knowledge…

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    It is a blessing. That’s for sure! 🙂

  • Janet Nazar 9 years ago Reply

    Thanks — I remember my mother in law making the torshi, but I didn’t write it all down…
    My grandkids call me JJ for Janet June….

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    How cute that’s what your grandkids calls you! Too bad you didn’t write down your MIL’s recipes! Hopefully will have a torshi post (or more) up one of these days – Persian torshi is the best. Thank you for commenting JJ! 🙂

  • apuginthekitchen 9 years ago Reply

    So nice to meet your Father and what a wonderful post, those photo’s of Baba with Baby Bee are so adorable. Love torshi, want to learn out to make it. Happy Fathers Day to your wonderful Dad!!

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Baby Bee! That’s perfect – why didn’t I think of it. I’m going to have to steal it. Thank you Suzanne! Whole slew of torshi recipes in the works down the pipeline …

  • Susan 9 years ago Reply

    Another beautiful post. Thank you Azita!

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Thank you Susan! 🙂

    Susan 9 years ago

    My pleasure!

  • tinywhitecottage 9 years ago Reply

    Azita. I always receive joy when I read your blog posts. Today I had a smile for a full 5 minutes while reading about your father and looking at your colorful photographs. Thank you for that! 🙂

  • TALA 9 years ago Reply

    Azita, i love your posts. I read this one together on the phone with my father. I love your stories… this one particularly. You made my mouth water with all the sour albaloo talk. Thanks again for sharing!

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Tala, thank you! I experience a bunch of feelings that would be beyond corny to put down but let’s just say comments like this keep me going and really cheer me up! Viva sour-albaloo season (in a month or so – maybe there’s an orchard near you as well?) Happy Father’s Day!

  • ladyredspecs 9 years ago Reply

    Another wonderful post Azita, like Seana says, your a bright spot on my screen

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    What a lovely thing to say – thank you both!!! 🙂

  • Yvonne 9 years ago Reply

    So very lovely.

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    yvonne joon, safa miyari har dafeh miyayee inja! 🙂 (Hope y’all had a lovely FAther’s Day weekend.)

  • johnnysenough hepburn 9 years ago Reply

    Off course! It was apricots. How could I forget that. I mentioned your blog to someone in my last post through comments, suggesting that I had learnt about cooking peaches and nectarines through your blog. I’ve got such a bad memory!

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Hey Johnny – No worries as the principle applies to peaches – I gave it a try the other day. I do remember you really liked that recipe

  • chef mimi 9 years ago Reply

    Your father is a beautiful man and looks like such a sweet grandfather! You are lucky to have him.

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Super lucky! And thank you!!

  • radhika25 9 years ago Reply

    Happy Father’s Day! Looking forward to your dad’s recipes.

    Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Thank you – same to you – and look forward to posting his recipes down the pipeline …

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 9 years ago Reply

    – Affarin Dokhtar! I appreciate the intimate stories you bring through your arts. You are a Joy!
    – Happy Father’s Day to your Baba and Felfeli’s Baba Bee!
    – Is that little Azita I see in the photo?
    – For the last two years, I have had my husband involved in making torshi with me. He does all the cutting. 😀 )))
    – You have bagheh albaloo? 😀

  • Fig & Quince 9 years ago Reply

    Fae – laughing reading your comment – so fun. No, no bagheh albaloo in the family alas. At least not here – we had one back in Iran. Here in the DC area (or I think maybe it’s in Virginia) there’s an apple and cherry and sour cherry orchard that my folks and their friends frequent. I’ve never been. So that’s where albaloo comes from. And yes, that is indeed the little Azita you spy.
    I do remember that beautiful torshi recipe you posted – your husband’s skilled hands helping out – hopefully there’ll be more!

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