I was just returning to Tehran after a week-long trip to the magical Persian Gulf region of Iran when, after connecting to my phone’s VPN (many sites are filtered here and you need a filter-breaker) and going to my favorite trashy site of choice (Dailymail.com), I read the giant headline news about the US obliteration of an Iranian major general on Iraqi soil.
Needless to say, any and all buzz generated during the trip fizzed away and gave way instead to a sinking feeling of being sick to my stomach.
As it stands, I’m right on the brink of fully jump-starting this dormant Persian food blog (great timing, right? details will be in the next post) — a blog that is founded on the premise of waxing poetic about the food, life & culture of Iran — precisely when Iran is on the tip of everyone’s tongue in the world not because of its delicious fluffy saffron rice; or its cardamom and rosewater infused cordials; or its hospitable people; or any of its 52+ cultural sites … but because of terrible things like a potential war. A WAR! A war which basically has started already, hasn’t it? Insert extremely sad emoji face here.
The unfortunate fact is that whether we are political junkies who love to opine on Twitter or political hermits who would rather discuss the Succession season finale instead, politics affect and govern our lives.
I choose not to discuss politics or news either here or on my social media channels but I don’t want to jump-start my blog and blatter about delicious Persian food and recipes as if I am oblivious and do not care about what’s going on in the world. Trust me that I care, that I care deeply, and that I am, like many of you and countless others, affected by it greatly and directly.
We are not all major agents of innovation, discovery, change, or activism but we all can do what we are best at doing to make a tiny positive dent in the world. I gravitated to creating a food blog as a vehicle of communication precisely because food brings people together. What I want, like what most sane people want is peace. Peace for us all. For all of humanity. To unite. To understand. To live in peace. On the one hand, it feels so insultingly banal and Polyanna to say this at gravely dangerous times like this. On the other hand, like Elvis Costello said: what’s so funny about peace love and understanding? Truly?
Please know that I am not forgetting that there are vitriol and violence, pain, natural and manmade disasters and a myriad of unconscionable political, social, and financial injustices in the world and that I have no idea what the future holds and truth be told I am rather petrified of what might actually transpire, but going forward, what I want to do here and what I hope will have some value for you is to focus on something different than what is in the news and to spotlight what is beautiful and delicious and pleasing to the senses and fun and funny and brings us together, and to keep on truckin’. As long as possible.
In that vein, before taking leave, I’ll leave you with a few pix:
Toman (Iranian currency) has been consistently losing value over the last year and a half and since then a lot of people obsessively follow the value of the dollar and some trade on it. It’s not unusual to walk in certain neighborhoods (where foreign currency is exchanged) and keep overhearing the word “dollar, dollar, dollar” like a weird chant. This fact is no laughing matter, but I couldn’t help chuckling when I saw the obsession turned into a Persian carpet in the storefront of my neighborhood carpet store. A perfect replica of a $100 Ben Franklin bill complete with the blue line! Iranian people!
I’m on a minimalist (major de-cluttering) kick these days. Even so, I couldn’t resist buying this doll! Handmade by local women in a Tabrizi village, this doll just captivated me and I will use it as a prop in posts to come. The blue vase is another favorite and the granite-colored wall is a favored corner of my abode. In the coming days, I plan to delve deep into some of my favorite things and details of my life and share them with you — as fully as is advisable. 😉
Lest we forget Fig & Quince is a food blog, I’m genuinely excited to share the story and recipe of this multi-ethnic noodle dish called “balalit” which I first encountered on my most recent trip to “jonoob” aka the Persian Gulf region of Iran. (Think noodles, saffron, sugar, cardamom … think: YUM!) Keep posted for that.
I know I said I don’t address the news, but I can’t leave this post without sending out prayers and thoughts and love to the people (and animals and plants and all life forms) of Australia.
And that my dears, is the conclusion of this bewildering & I’m sure unexpected post. As mentioned, great timing or not, this blog is coming back to life, and there is a detailed post I wrote weeks earlier (which may now need editing) that’s coming up so keep posted for that as well.
Till then, as naive as it may be, wishing us all peace and love & let’s keep on truckin’.