12/02/2007

Breaking Barbari Bread*

I went to Ehsan and Maryam's house for dinner last night. They had invited us a while back and I had been looking forward to going to their home. Leva and Vahid came and took me there. I was not a very good guest, I'm afraid, as I was talking to my son on the phone all night, helping him to submit his university application by midnight last night. My hosts and their other guests were understanding and gracious, but it didn't feel right. The young Iranian couple had such a lovely and warm home, and were so good to us. I know I promised not to post food pictures for a while, but this couldn't be helped, as I saw food items at their house I hadn't had in years! First, take a look at these amazing home-made barbari's! Ehsan made them himself! They were fresh out of the oven when we got there! It took Ehsan 2 days to make these barbarai's and Bayramali, Leva, Vahid, and I ate them all in about five minutes!
Maybe eating those Barbari's so quickly was a mistake, because the spread Maryam had prepared was out of this world, we would soon find out. Ehsan had also helped by making a Southern Iran favorite, ghelyeh-mahi. Just look at this:
Can you see the koofteh, khorak-e-zaboon, zershk-polo-ba morgh, sabzi polo, tahdig, and gheliyeh-mahi? It was out of this world!
And this is my first helping, with more to follow! Please note that home-made baby bademjoon torshi, shoor, salad shirazi, and tahdig next to my gorgeous koofteh! Outdone, absolutely!
Once we ate the fabulous food and the phone calls stopped (yes, he is done for now, so we wait and see how things develop), we sat around and chatted companionably for a few more hours, my absolute most favorite part of a dinner party, even if the food is as heavenly as Maryam's. Those relaxed hours after the food is served and the host and hostess can join their guests, sit down, relax, and enjoy their party. We were all full of stories to tell and it was hard to wait our turns to tell them! Some of our other friends had missed the party because of illness and emergencies, and we missed them. I am glad to report that I took their share of kooftehs and now they wait in my freezer to be my dinner on a cold winter's eve soon! No, I won't give them away to anyone, sorry!
Somedays I think the best part of my life in its newest iteration has been the possibility of making the friendships I enjoy these days. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people in the world to have come to know some of the brightest Iranians who live outside Iran, and then many inside Iran.
*Breaking Bread is an expression as old as biblical times. It means sharing food with others, and in colloquial English it means developing friendships with others through eating together.

13 comments:

Assal said...

Oh My!

What an amazing feast, first of all. I love ghelyeh mahi which I tasted when I was younger in Iran and have never had the opportunity to try again since.

Your hosts must really love their guests to spend such time creating that lovely spread!

I hope the college applications are blessed and bring back wonderful results! He will get everything he sets his mind to!

Happy Sunday, Nazy Joonam.

jeerjeerak said...

wow and wow and wow! they made barbari at home? wow! and look at all these photos, nazy jan, you have to stop posting these type of pictures, there are some starving (for good persian food) people out there reading your posts:))))))

what is that dish next to barbari and cheese and olives?

Assal said...

jeerjeerak: i believe that's tomato slices with mozzarella on top and olive oil and balsamic vinegar (and probably minced garlic to top)...

yum~

masoud said...

سلام.هزار سر فدای یک شکم.اصطلاح جالبی را توضیح دادی.در نگاه اول به تیتر و عکس،بلافاصله به یاد میرزا تقی خان امیرکبیر افتادم که در نامه ای به شاه نوشت:الان که در حال شکستن لبه نان هستم...... ولی با خواندن سطر آخر مطلب فرق کرد.به هر حال هم سفره شدن دوستی می آورد و دوستی را افزون می کند.شاد و خرم باشی.

jeerjeerak said...

Ya, right. Thanks Assal jan for clarification. At my first glance it looked like some sort of sushi with red weeds!

Marzieh said...

سلام و صد سلام به نازی عزیزم
نوش جونت اون همه سفره های مهربانی!
خیلی از توضیحت ممنون مثل همیشه چیزی یاد گرفتم
I am glad to report that I took their share of kooftehs and now they wait in my freezer to be my dinner on a cold winter's eve soon! No, I won't give them away to anyone, sorry!
خیلی خندیدم از این جمله...باز هم نوش جان!
منتظر خبر های خوب از فرزند گرامی هستیم!
میبوسمت :D

Marzieh said...

جیزجیزک جان گمان نکنم کسانی که به اینترنت دسترسی دارند گرسنه باشند! منظورم توی ایرانه این طرفها هم که من به یک اراده آهنین نداشته محتاجم برای زدودن کیلو های اضافی!!:ِ)

من هم قلیه ماهی رو دوست دارم غذای سالمیه.....یاممممم و بالاخره بعد از سالها درست کردم یادمه تو ایران با ماهی ستگ سر درست میکردن و این جا سمون ..

Nazy said...

Salam Assal Jan:

Yes, they did put themselves out completely! It had been years since I had had that dish and it was absolutely delicious.

The applications are in and now we have to keep our fingers crossed. You know how that one goes, Assal Jan! I hope you have had a good weekend my friend.

Nazy said...

Jeerjeerak Jan:

I knew the Barbari would appeal to the baker in you! Though from what Ehsan has explained in his blog, I'm afraid it's easier to do Lamingtons than Barbari! Assal answered your question correctly Jeer Jan. Have a good week!

Nazy said...

Salam Masoud Jan:

Iranins value "eating together" as an honor and a ceremony to seal friendships and foster loyalty. Noon-o-namak khordan is something significant in our culture. I found out that the same is true in most Mediterranean cultures. Breaking bread is a similar concept. I agree with you: sharing food with others makes us prosperous. Be good my friend.

Nazy said...

Salam Marzieh Jan:

Hee Hee, you read the line I had hidden in there! Maryam is so "kadbanoo," she had perfectly-sized plastic containers and she gave me two, each holding three perfect koofteh's in it! Yum! I am so shekamoo. I hope it has been a relaxing weekend for you. Come back soon my friend.

احسان said...

Nazy Jan,
Thanks a lot for the nice words. You are very kind. Maryam and I had such a great time. There is hardly a joy in life bigger than cooking for friends.
On the barbari issue, once you get a hang of it, I don't think it is too difficult to make barbari at home (I am not still there though). However, it will take about 4 hour from start to finish anyways because the dough needs time to prove (raise), three times. I am currently looking for a way to refrigerate the dough for later use. If anybody knows how to do it please share with me.

Nazy said...

Salam Ehsan Jan:

The pleasure was all mine. I am so excited to know that your experiments with Barbari will continue, as this ensures that I will get to "test" your productions frequently! Thank you and Maryam again for a fabulous evening of food and friendship.