Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maman's Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan

What can I say about this magnificent memoir? Donia Bijan's Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in An American Kitchen brings together family and cultural history and food in a beautifully written homage to her parents, but particularly her mother. Bijan, who graduated from the Cordon Bleu, and owned her own restaurant in San Francisco, said she is telling the story as she remembers it, "through the prism of food." Yes, the food is the theme that runs through the entire book, and there are thirty recipes, but it's her mother's spirit and heart that carry the reader through this book.

The book opens with Bijan packing up her mother's kitchen after her death. Her mother was a strong, spirited woman who grew up in Iran and was educated in England. She arrived in England at eighteen, knowing only two words in English. But, she returned to Tehran as a registered nurse and midwife. It was there she met her husband, an obstetrician who built Bijan Hospital in 1960. They ran the hospital together, lived on the property, and raised three daughters. Bijan celebrates the beauty of that life, and the luxury and freedom the family enjoyed under the forward-looking Shah. Her mother had strong political views and "Took on any establishment that did not give women a voice, and that was essentially every institution. In the early '70s, she won a seat in parliament, and fought to build schools, roads and clinics for her constituents."

In the summer of 1978, when Donia was fifteen, the family was on vacation in Majorca when the demonstrations against the monarchy began. They were told not to come home because they would have been executed. Donia's older sisters were already in college in the United States. Donia followed, to go to high school there, and a year later her parents moved to Fresno, California, where they had family and friends. It was a move that destroyed Donia's father, but further empowered her mother, who quickly adapted to life in the United States, including learning to cook Thanksgiving dinners and apple pies.

Donia Bijan tells this story using food an an ongoing theme. She was raised in a culture where food was cherished. Her father always selected local food when they traveled, and her mother celebrated all occasions and friendships with food. It was natural for her to want to cook, but even that was a move her father objected to, while her mother encouraged her in her dreams.

This is Donia Bijan's memoir, the story of her childhood in Iran, her life in the United States, and her culinary training in France. It's the story of an Iranian American learning to blend three cultures into her food and her life. But, it's also a tribute to her courageous mother, a woman who discovered her own independence in England, fiercely fought for other women in Iran, and arrived in America with little money, but her own passion for life. It's the story of a woman who fought for her children to live their dreams, even when it meant opposing her own husband.

 Bijan's descriptions of food and family are beautiful, laced with passion and love. Donia Bijan's Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in An American Kitchen is the story of two women who shared a love of food, courage when it came to their dreams, and a love of family. Family, dreams, strong women, wonderful food. It's a memoir to be savored.

Donia Bijan's website is www.doniabijan.com.

Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in An American Kitchen by Donia Bijan.  Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 2011. ISBN 9781565129573 (hardcover), 254p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library Book

16 comments:

caite said...

While I am not usually a fan of memoirs, I really, really liked this book.
Maybe the food had something to do with it.

Lesa said...

I'm so glad you already read the book, and really liked it, too, Caite. I'm booktalking it this morning.

Beth Hoffman said...

I don't gravitate toward memoirs, but you've convinced me to add this one to my list!

Nancy said...

I'd like to read this book! Food related memoirs do attract me.

Karen C said...

Sounds like a powerful story and a good read.

Lesa said...

I wish I'd known about this book when I sent my list to Thunderbird School of Management in December.This would have been perfect for them! I hope you all enjoy it.

shi zhan said...

レイバン 眼鏡の店はボート遊び、釣りやウォータースポーツなどの場合に、あなたのニーズに合わせて、異なるタイプのサングラスとレンズを用意しています。あのレイバン RB3026は今まさにパニック買いになっているでしょう。自分までもこのレイバン アビエーターに誘惑されています。

Anonymous said...

ugg uk NetWeiple
ugg boots uk NetWeiple
cheap ugg boots uk NetWeiple
http://aggsaler.webeden.co.uk

Anonymous said...

ugg boots NetWeiple
ugg sale uk NetWeiple
ugg uk NetWeiple
http://www.2012bootsuk.co.uk

Anonymous said...

ugg sale NetWeiple
bootsoutletus.weebly.com NetWeiple
ugg sale NetWeiple
http://bootsoutletonlinestore.weebly.com

Anonymous said...

Russell Wilson Jersey Women's axiotakix
Russell Wilson Women's Jersey axiotakix
Larry Fitzgerald Nike Jersey axiotakix
http://www.nikeredskinsnflstore.com

Anonymous said...

axotomarvex www.coltsproshop.us
Andrew Luck Womens Jersey
nike Andrew Luck jersey
UnmannaSmurce

Anonymous said...

axotomarvex Andrew Luck elite jersey
Andrew Luck Jersey
Reggie Wayne Jersey
UnmannaSmurce

Anonymous said...

Mike Wallace Youth Jersey
Arian Foster Jersey
Jahvid Best Jersey
drydayoutraro

Anonymous said...

axotomarvex T.Y. Hilton Jersey
www.coltsproshop.us
Andrew Luck Jersey
UnmannaSmurce

Anonymous said...

lrczajwei Canada Goose [url=http://canadagoosejakkerlove.com/]Canada Goose Jakker Salg[/url] gnxnppwla http://canadagoosejakkerlove.com/ Canada Goose
iqufkewbr canada goose jacket [url=http://goosejacketsoutletsale.com/]canada goose jackets[/url] ztvdzydsp http://goosejacketsoutletsale.com/ canada goose outlet
http://dptest.lassestorgaard.dk/node/29411 canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://bagipin.net/index.php?p=blogs/viewstory/129536 canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://idroidian.net/members/trvd62tz canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://www.descargastorrent.com.ar/jcow/index.php?p=blogs/viewstory/306241 canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://swinger.ee/member/blog_post_view.php?postId=19642 canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://www.srijanju.com/forum/topic/canada-goose-browse-around-site-canadagoosejakkerlovecom-0 canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://www.sbitube.com/members/pataltvater canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://itw-dahti.com/content/canada-goose-try-these-guys-canadagoosejakkerlovecom canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://www.golfcommune.com/forum/canada-goose-sneak-peek-these-guys-canadagoosejakkerlovecom canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka
http://vittapharms.com.sg/node/12373 canada goose,canada goose jackets,canada goose jacket,canada goose outlet,canada goose parka