Nowruz marks the first day of Spring. Growing up, we never celebrated Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year, in my house. It was considered a pagan holiday to my folks; and they, being more traditional conservative Jews, also felt it just a little contraindicative to celebrate a national holiday in a nation that would prefer they didn't live there or even exist for that matter. Ya' feel me? Then came the late 1970's, early 80's; the Islamic Revolution in Iran led to a mass influx of Persian Jews in the US. Soon after, Los Angeles (i.e. Westwood, West Los Angeles, & Beverly Hills) became known as “Tehrangeles”. Kabob houses began opening up all over LA. Mashti Malone's opens up his Persian Ice Cream shop in Hollywood and now, everyone and I mean everyone, covets the crunchy basmati rice or potatoes or (if you're Persian Armenian) Pita from the bottom of the pot; otherwise known as “tah-dig. Woo-howdy, and what a treat it is. We fought over it at our dinner table. I eyed my father's tah-dig, until he couldn't take it anymore, finally giving in to my pestering glare of: ”you gonna eat that or not, already!" Now, everyone, it seems, celebrates Nowruz. The “fear of the other” has become politically correct curiosity and acceptance. Am I just a little perturbed by this? Ya, a little. All that unfortunate shame and hiding. For what? Perspective is everything isn't it? I am humbled, of course, that my culture and our food, which once felt so wrong, exotic, weird, strange, unwelcoming, is exactly what it was meant to be appreciated for; a delicious way of bringing families and people together through, most of all, love.
Ain't nothin wrong with that!
Grab your recipe for the Caramelized Cinnamon Carrot & Onion Basmati Rice here:
Havij Polo ~ Carrot Saffron Basmati Rice with Sexy Tah-dig