Maman’s Homesick Pie is a memoir by Donia Bijan and it’s a wonderful one that combines a look back at her life with her love of food and cooking including some delectable recipes. Donia Bijan tells of her childhood memories growing up in Iran and cooking from a young age with her mother. This memoir chronicles her journey from Iran to Paris and cooking school and then to America where she eventually opens her own restaurant.
Bijan’s journey to realizing her dream starts when the family is vacationing in Spain and find they are unable to return to their homeland because of the political issues in Tehran. They have no choice but to immigrate to America and this is where Bijan spends her teenage years. Later she knows that to be taken seriously as a chef she needs to go to France and she goes there to study. She always knows though that she will come back to America and it was always her hope to own and open her own restaurant there.
For Bijan’s family food has always been an important element to who they are. While both of her parents had a passion for food, it is really Bijan’s mother who always encouraged her love of cooking and when she learned her daughter wanted to be a chef, she supported that as well which wasn’t always easy considering Bijan’s father completely opposed the idea. I loved to read how her family always went to the markets and picked their food; how they didn’t eat in fast food places but instead went home and created fresh and wonderful meals that they shared together.
Bijan’s writing is so descriptive that I felt as though I could taste the food she was talking about or smell the aromas. There are so many beautiful passages such as this one that begs to read a few times just to get the full sense of it…
‘Imagine a pheasant wrapped in lettuce with truffles and braised in the rich, brown stock of it’s roasted bones. You used all senses: you looked at it, touched it, and smelled it to know it was done, then lifted it out of its caramel pool, tasted the jus, adjusted it with a squeeze of lemon, and sliced through the lettuce wrap, its emerald leaves now translucent against a milky white breast, the scent of truffles begging you to come closer.’ (pg 168/169)
You can’t be a foodie and not salivate over that passage or imagine yourself cutting through that lettuce wrap to discover the treasure inside. This book is full of such passages and along with recipes like Braised Chicken with Persian Plums, Madame’s Cocoa Pound Cake, and Ratatouille with Black Olives and Fried Bread, it is such a treat to read. But even beyond that is the story at the base of this book; essentially the inspiration for this book, and that is the love of family and the food that brings so many of us together as well as holds so many memories for all of us. It is a also a story of triumph. Bijan never gave up on her dream. She shows us that with drive and determination anything is possible.
I think in a lot of ways this story is somewhat of a tribute to Bijan’s mother who died in a tragic accident. Her mother instilled a love of food and life in her daughter that has carried her throughout her own life. So many of Bijan’s memories of her family and especially her mother are intertwined with food that it’s no wonder she has such a passion for cooking and became such a wonderful chef. This was a great memoir and one that I enjoyed immensely. Bijan’s stories combined with the wonderful recipes that inspire these stories was truly a joy to read.
I read Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan for her book tour with TLC Book Tours. You can see what others have thought of the book here and be sure to stop by Donia Bijan’s website as well. Your own copy of Maman’s Homesick Pie can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada.
I am excited to share 3 copies of Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know in your comment so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winners on Saturday, November 19/11. Good luck everyone!
My copy of Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan was received for review from TLC Book Tours and the Publisher.