Tag Archives: donia bijan

Weekend Cooking Author Talk with Donia Bijan

On Thursday, I was very lucky to be able to see Donia Bijan at the Redwood City Public Library. I missed her book tour last fall when Maman’s Homesick Pie was first released. I was glad to get another chance.

Maman’s Homesick Pie is part memoir, part Persian/French cookbook and partly an ode to her ever supportive and loving mother. Since there are so few memoirs of Armenians who have left Iran for California, I try to grab as many Persian memoirs in the field as I can.

Last night was a special treat, because Donia wasn’t there to talk about her book. She was there to discuss the Persian New Year of Norouz and explain how it is celebrated. She went over the Haft-seen (the table display of seven items that begin with the letter S), the big picnic held on the 13th day of the new year, and of course the meals. 

Donia discussed stories of her family, her childhood, and her mother, touching lightly upon the topics in the book, but mostly discussing new stories. The good news is that she is currently working on her next book, but the sad news is that I didn’t get a chance to ask her if it was another memoir or if it would be a cookbook, because I’d love to have either. Her recipes are the same ones that my mom makes, but are also the ones that I can never replicate because the instructions just don’t carry over well. I can also happily say that Donia provided all of my favorite Persian cookies as a gift for the audience. I believe she made the cookies herself. =) Food + Books = Awesome.

If you weren’t able to go last night, there are still 3 upcoming events in the Bay Area:
Saturday April 7th, 2012, Noon
Mt. View, CA

Sunday May 6th, 2012, 3pm
701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, CA

Sunday May 20th, 2012, 2pm
San Mateo Library
55 W. 3rd Avenue / San Mateo, CA 

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