I felt incredibly honored to have been present at this amazing Luncheon. After all, one of the reasons I wrote this cookbook was to precisely share it with the next generation of Persian Jews…what better place to feature it than at the Iranian American Jewish Federation? Right?
However, I have to admit part of me was scared. The event was in Beverly Hills (which by the way is more than 50% Persian…even the Mayor of BH is Persian)…did I even have a big enough engagement ring to fit in?! When I arrived I realized most of the ladies were middle-aged ladies…although they all looked a lot younger (more on that later). My first thought was, Persian women don’t need my cookbook! These ladies are probably all amazing cooks! Well, needless to say, I was a little nervous. Not to mention the luncheon was made of, yep you guessed it, Persian food! I was also running late, the event had already started and they wanted me to speak…in front of all these ladies (more than 100 women) Yikes!
It was so hot I honestly would not have minded accidentally falling into this pool!
All I could hear was Farsi everywhere. All I could see was Chanel and Hermes. Fortunately I had my savior with me! My mother-in-law! She navigated all the Persian bureaucracy for me and I felt so much better. We waited until two speakers were done giving their thoughts…one of them was a plastic surgeon…yes, I know. The other was a psychologist …yes, I know that too. And then it was my turn. All those eyes on me! How was I to sell a book to these women filled with the food they already know how to cook?! I needed a miracle! Fortunately, my proceeds from the book are going to charity; that always helps. However, what they liked the most was the chapter in Persian Jewish Holidays…even these accomplished cooks wanted that ingredient! How do Persians celebrate and maintain vibrant their Persian Jewish Heritage? How do we pass it on to our children? Will we be blessed to see our great grandchildren saying Kiddush Friday nights and eating gondy?
In retrospect, I now realize that it doesn’t matter how much you know Persian food. It doesn’t matter how delicious and lavish your food is…when you are a Persian Jew what makes the food special is its purpose. What are you making gondy for? Is it for Shabbat? Then is has served its purpose! Same for all the other lavish Kosher Persian dishes out there…when they are served in the honor of a holiday or even to honor someone special they have all served their purpose.
After my short address I was amazed at how excited these ladies were about the cookbook! I think they liked me even better than the plastic surgeon! So many of them came to me and hugged me and thanked me…I felt so overwhelmed that just writing about it brings tears to my eyes! All of the sudden, my fears were gone! They were all so nice, so normal, so incredibly stunning inside and out! We were speaking the same language, we were wearing the same clothes, we all had the same old bling…we were all Jewish mothers focused on one goal…our eternal nation!
From the bottom if my heart I wish every single one of them countless pride from all their descendants! I wish to extend my most sincere gratitude to Farzaneh Farnoush, Jilla Yousefi, and Shahla Javdan not only for having me over but also for making a difference with IAJF. Last, thanks for the best mother-in-law in the world, Shahla Simnegar.