9/29/2007

Eftari in Masouleh

Massouleh, Gilan, Photo By Nigel Bahrani
It's Friday. I had eftari and dinner guests tonight. I took some sweet pictures of my eftari spread to show you, but somehow they were lost and I am bummed out about it. I grew up in a big family, with many siblings and many more who stayed with us. I learned how to cook when I was twelve, after my mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and it became apparent that she could no longer single-handedly feed close to 20 people at mealtimes. We all learned how to shop, cook, and entertain at my father's urging, as he knew that my mother was depressed about not being able to keep up the physical effort, and our household had to stay a welcome place for all in it and all who came. Cooking for many people is easy for me. Cooking for just a few is simply impossible! Every time I cook for my parties now, I always have several days' worth of leftovers! If I haven't un-learned cooking for 20 by now, I doubt I can do it here on end! So, halva, ash reshteh, and several other dishes will be our food for days to come!
As is now a habit with me, my thoughts and worries for Iran invariably take me to Iran. In my imagination, I visit its many corners, villages, towns, and cities. I walk down its streets, and stop by its tea houses (ghahveh khooneh). In another life, I used to travel to Gilan every Ramadan, to visit friends and family there. On one of those trips, on a cold November day, I had eftari (breakfast) at a tiny tea house in Masouleh, a village entirely built on a mountain. Masouleh is a tourist town, with most of its natives now old men and women. Their youth leave the village to go to live in cities and abroad. The village feels eerie and quiet in off-season. The hot tea, the bread and cheese, and the fresh eggs omlette I had in that teahouse, listening to the wise and articulate old men in presence is one of my most cherished memories. Tonight, I visited Masouleh again, and walked its crooked uphill pavements, looking in on the tiny houses whose backyards are the roofs of houses below. I went to its miniature cemetery located in the middle of all the houses, and stopped by a bookshop where I could always find banned books, unavailable in Tehran bookshops. I had my delicious Lahijan tea in that teahouse tonight, looking through the window panes covered with steam. I was in Iran tonight. I wish you all a very good weekend, filled with rest and hopeful thoughts. Surround yourselves with people you love, and shoo bad thoughts away from your mind and soul. Tell those you love that you love them. Let them take care of you and be prepared to do the same for them. Be good y’all.

18 comments:

بانوي جشنواره زمستان said...

Nazy junam , ranginak ham baladi bepazi?:D
mikhay dasturesho inja barat benevisam?:D

ا. ش said...

سلام! ممنون از این که چنین خاطرات زیبا و دلپذیری را با ما نیز در میان می گذارید. این نوشته ی شما فضایی از اُنس و دوستی برایم پدید آورد که خود را با آن بسیار آشنا دیدم و با خواندن آن بیشتر به این باور خود اطمینان یافتم که روح انسان سراسر معناست و فارغ از قالب های مکانی و زمانی گسترش می یابد، و ما همان هستیم که به آن معنی می بخشیم. شما دیشب در میان درختان زیتون و مزارع سبز چای در گیلان بودید، در همین نزدیکی ....ء

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Neda! Are you a Shirazi girl, too?! How fantastic! I have had Ranginak, and would love to have the recipe! Our problem here is that we can't find those wonderful fresh Iranian dates here. Give me the recipe and I'll try it and will report on my progress! Be good azizam.

Nazy said...

Salam bar Alef Shin: I'm so glad you came back! You are so kind to me. I do miss Iran very much these days. My experiences with the place were so positive, so full of joy, that it is hard not to remember them with joy.

There is so much that I still need to see in Iran, so many ceremonies I would like to attend. I want to go to an Ashayer wedding, to a Torkaman wedding, to Kashan's Golabgiran in Ordibehesht, to Mashad Ardahal's mosque carpet washing ceremony in Mehr, to Sanandaj and Ghaleh Roodkhan. I will do them all one day.

Thanks again for coming Alef Shin. Be good.

Tameshk said...

Nazy Joonam

Your enchanting words always carries me back home to Iran.

jeerjeerak said...

Hmmm, for me it all depends on the size of the pot! Cooking for a party of 4, my dishes are marvelous, for 10 they are not edible:))))

بانوي جشنواره زمستان said...

miduni Nazy jan? man doran e daneshjuiee tehran nabudam va kheili talash mikardam ba adamaye shahrhaye dige makhsusan jonubiha ertebat bargharar konam, va makhsusan ashpazishun ro yad begiram.man fekr mikonam ashpaziye khas , ertebat e mostaghimi ba farhange adama dare va az in tarigh mituni beheshun nazdiktar beshi.va inke man ranginak ro az ye khanum bushehri yad gereftam:D

بانوي جشنواره زمستان said...

روش تهيه رنگينک رو براتون در وبلاگم گذاشتم:D

Tameshk said...

Nazy Joonam

Thanks a lot for your lovely comment! As always they are to the point and I really enjoy them.

About the Yellow Jacket I don't think Hossein owns one but I will ask him to be sure.

I miss you terribly.
Best
Tameshk.

Nazy said...

Dear Tameshk:

Thank you for your supportive words. I love telling my stories. But I love it more when I have such a sweet audience! You motivate me to tell more, and for that, I thank you. Be good azizam, and I miss you, too.

Nazy said...

Jeerjeerak Jan: That's an astute reply! My problem is that even when I cook in a small pot, I have leftovers! Could it have to do with what kind of cook I am?! Be good Jeer Jan.

Nazy said...

Neda Jan: You raise an interesting point. Learning the cuisine of different people, ethnicities, and nations is a good way to learn about their culture. I did't realize Boushehri's made Ranginak, too! I'll be sure to go visit your blog and steal that recipe. I might try to impress my Shirazi brother-in-law with it soon. Thanks a million my friend.

Anonymous said...

nazy jan
I was in masoule about 1 month ago. as you said, it was amaizing
and beautiful, wish you were there
I love this city, next time I will show you my photos of Masoule.
have fun and happy Ramadan
bayram

Nazy said...

Bayram Jan: Thank you for visiting! Reading your words made me happy. I'm glad you went to Masouleh, and yes, I would love to see your photos. I love the presents you brought me from Zanjan and Tehran, and the photos will be my additional soghati! Thanks.

serendip said...

Beautiful post as always.

ot: does anyone know the recipe for noon khamehi?

Nazy said...

Salam Serendip Jan. I have the recipe in Farsi. As you know, the big difference between Iranians creme puffs ad those found here is in the sweetness and lightness of the cream inside the shell, and the shell which tastes rather neutral, does not differ that much. The easiest way to make creme puffs Iranian style, therefore, is to buy their empty shells (also known as eclair shells)from a local bakery and then fill them with beaten and fluffy creme you have prepared at home! Keep the secret and bon appetite!

Anonymous said...

Salam

khaili baehsasi khanoomi

Marzieh

Nazy said...

Marzieh Jan: Thank you! I write from my heart and I am delighted when I see that others read it with their hearts, too. Thank you for your sweet comment. Come back again soon.