The Anesthetist has a crazy Iranian friend who invited us. Crazy in a good way. She has just got back from Iran so was in a particularly Persian frame of mind this night, with her long skirts and scarves and rings and bells. She had organized a chef friend of hers to cook a delicious four course Iranian meal. Louisa Shafia has an Iranian background herself, but grew up in the US. She is beautiful - to look at and as a cook- and believes in healthy, wholesome cooking. The anesthetist bought me her book called Lucid Food which focuses on organic and seasonal cooking principles. The recipes are super simple and very tasty.
Nowruz reflects the renewal of the Earth with the coming of spring. The celebrations are similar to other religious celebrations in different cultures. The difference is the Iranians always prepare a haft-seen table, which is a table containing seven things that begin with the letter 'S' with each item symbolizing something:
- Sumac (spice): for the surprise and the spice of life
- Senjed (sweet dry fruit of the lotus tree): for love and affection
- Serkeh (vinegar): for patience and age
- Seeb (apples): for health and beauty
- Sir (garlic): for good health
- Samanu (wheat pudding): for fertility and sweetness
- Sabzeh (sprouted wheatgrass): for rebirth and renewal
Our friend created a beautiful table, but of course somehow those photos were deleted off my camera. So you can kind of see it behind Lousia telling us about our feast.
The political tensions between Iran and this country are running high at the moment. But the President still made time to address the Iranians and wish them well in their new year celebrations. For my part, I am so glad I learnt something about a culture so different to ours, and was able to celebrate it peacefully with food, friends and a sense of warmth. It's inspired me to finally read a much loved bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran.