Maman’s Homesick Pie (Donia Bijan) – Review

Maman's homesick pie : a Persian heart in an American kitchenMaman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan
Age: YA/Adult
Genre: Memoir/Cookbook
Publication Date: October 11th, 2011
Publisher: Algonquin Books

At only 16 years of age when the Islamic Revolution took over her homeland of Iran, Donia Bijan came west to the United States, soon followed by her dutiful parents. With her former world in upheaval, Donia comes to embrace her place caught between two worlds, two cultures through cooking lessons with her mom, and time spent in the kitchen. Fostering a growing love for food, Bijan enrolls at a cooking school in Paris, bridging her love for food, with her quest for finding just where she belongs in the world.

When I first received this book. I thought it would be something similar to Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas, another Bay Area Persian-American writer. Maman’s Homesick Pie is a 1 part cookbook and 1 part touching portrayal of Bijan’s mother. Although her mother died in a terrible and brutal manner by a hit & run car accident, her memory, loyalty and influence are ever-present in Donia’s everyday actions, particularly in the kitchen. With her mother’s never-failing love and support through all endeavors, Donia is able to fulfill her dream of perfecting her cooking abilities and even opening her own Persian-French inspired restaurant in Palo Alto, Ca. I am sad to say that this restaurant closes its doors a few years ago, but tops the list at “Restaurants that should re-open” on Yelp.

This book belongs in the kitchen along with all the other cookbooks because of the variety of recipes that conclude each chapter. I greatly appreciate the recipes, because many of these Persian dishes are the same ones, if not variations of the meals I ate at home living with my parents. It is not easy finding excellent Armenian or Persian cookbook in English, let me tell you. If you know where I can find them, please let me know!!

This is a fantastic book for foodies, and especially for mothers & daughters who share a tight bond.

Find this book at your local library 

Book 48 of 2011
 Book 4

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10 responses to “Maman’s Homesick Pie (Donia Bijan) – Review

  1. I am so glad you liked this. I have this scheduled in a few weeks. Can’t wait to get to it. BTW: I barely skimmed your review so I wouldn’t be influenced when I write my own — but I did see enough to know you gave it a thumbs up.

  2. I think I am going to add this book to my wishlist. I am not sure if the recipes are suitable for vegetarians, but I think I want to read it for the story as well :)

  3. So very sad about her mother. I am quite interested in the food.

  4. I’m adding this one to my Cookbook WL! It looks great!

  5. She sounds like she has an interesting story to tell and the cuisine of this area would be something new and different.

  6. I am always up for books that interweave cooking themes with family relationships. I’ll have to look out for this one.

  7. I love good food memoirs, especially when they give unique recipes. I’m glad this one had a good personal link for you.

  8. I hope she is able to open her restaurant again!

  9. I think my husband would love this one. A friend of his gave him a Persian cookbook last year, and he’s been saying he’d like to find more Persian cookbooks.

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