West of Persia is a cooking and recipe blog exploring the cuisines of Iran and other countries of the Middle East. Here, I seek to educate readers on the cuisine of the Middle East in a fun and creative way. We will explore classic recipes and new creations, and when possible, simplify recipes to make them accessible to all.
Much of my family is from Iran, but I haven’t been there in many years. Living in the United States, one of the ways I stay connected to the culture and to my heritage is through cooking Persian food. In the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to visit other parts of the Middle East. I have developed a taste for and curiosity about the foods of the many countries in the region through my travels, and through many of the wonderful people who’ve come into my life.
This blog is a work in progress, exploring recipes I know by heart, and recipes I’m just now learning or creating. We’ll share everything about those recipes here, including the the successes and the colossal failures.
Failures, you say? Yes, there will be failures. I’m a much better cook than I used to be, but I still have stories of past mistakes that seemed tragic at the time but now make me laugh. Plus, I have a nagging hunch that there are more mistakes yet to come. And that’s okay. We learn by getting lost and finding our way out of sticky situations, no?
Let’s be invigorated–not intimidated–by the elaborate culinary heritage of the Middle East. Whenever possible, I streamline and/or simplify the recipes, because I know all too well the time constraints of modern life. This is not your grandmother’s kitchen. Gone are the days when ensuring the perfect cooking and presentation of a meal was the main task on a woman’s plate on any given day. Nowadays, we all juggle so much. It’s not all bad. Men are taking a greater interest in cooking, and that’s wonderful. If you were to walk around New York City, you’d see the evidence on nearly every block. Who is running the falafel cafes, kebab houses, and halal carts? Men! So as we all continue to move forward in life and our lives and roles change and evolve, let’s not lose a part of ourselves in the day-to-day hustle and grind.
Full diclosure: My kitchen is a laughably tiny New York City prewar apartment kitchen. Counterspace? Basically non-existent. Dishwasher? Maybe in another lifetime. My gear is pretty basic. I researched blenders for two years before finally buying a new one. By default, I have to go with quality, not quantity.
Some women dream of designer shoes and dresses. In my dreams, I see rows and rows of gleaming cabinets and candy colored stand mixers, chef’s quality gas ranges, and plates of every color and size. The reality is much more utilitarian. Whatever doesn’t fit or work well must go.
This is my roundabout way of saying that by default, I have to keep things simple. Which means the recipes should be accessible to pretty much anyone. I won’t go so far as to say idiot-proof 100% of the time, but close enough.
Fun, too. We must have fun. After all, it’s not a party ’til someone breaks something!
Contact me via Email: BriaYoga4Soul at gmail dot com
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