Basmati Rice with Aromatic Herbs and Sexy Tah-dig

It is at once amazing to me and strange how Tah-Dig - the sexy crispy rice made famous in Persian Cuisine, the cuisine of my family's, is now so widely adored and coveted by the most surprising, and opposite, of communities. I'm not going to lie, but when my very white friends eagerly nod their head in learning that this is what I've made for dinner, I feel like saying, "Oh, so now, I'm cool?". I mean nothing made me feel more different and left out from all my friends at the lunch table in elementary school than when I pulled a recycled cool whip container filled with stuffed grape leaves and Greek yogurt, out of my Partridge Family Lunch Box. Or worse, when on the very next day, the same container was filled with Ghormeh Sabzi. My mom loved cool whip and sour cream (still does), and since we kept Kosher, Cool Whip was a staple in our home. We always had a container or two in our freezer. But, that's a story for a different blog. Back to my exotic school lunches. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to get these leftovers from dinner the night before at school, but the aromas, let alone the color (of stewed green vegetables) was so foreign to my peers, I was teased for being being a "Jewish Foreigner" by my American Jewish friends. Whaa? For the record, I was born in LA. Not sure if you can get anymore American than that. Regardless, that's what it was like growing up with this amazing food and culture that nobody understood. Now? It's a totally different story. I can't say I'm completely comfortable with neither the appreciation nor the recognition, however, I'll tread slowly in that direction. While being cautiously optimistic is an appropriate description, I am, as always, very excited to share delicious plates with anyone who would care to join me at my table! There is no doubt that Persian Cuisine is one of the most aromatic and delicious. From the many variations of Basmati Rice dishes, certainly the Crown Jewel of the table, to our Khoreshts (Stews) and of course the Kabobs, it is a feast unlike any other and one that always makes me feel that I've come home.