Saffron: Tales from the Persian Kitchen

I’m on a mission to showcase a side of Iran that never makes the headlines. Armed with just a notepad and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, I want to travel through Iran asking a cross-section of Iranians to share their favourite recipes with me. From my 77 year old grandmother who lives on a rice farm near the Caspian Sea to 22 year old hip hop stars in Tehran, I’ll be gathering recipes from fishermen and farmers, teachers and tradesmen, carpet makers and cab drivers. Whilst cooking together, I’ll ask people I meet to share the stories behind the food that they love.

In my aunt's kitchen, Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh, Gilan.

It is fairly rare that I discuss other projects here – mainly cause I am always so overwhelmed with all my own stuff to post. But this is one project that I am really excited about and want to see happen, because it really speaks to me of so many of the things I love: food, spices, diverse landscapes, ancient and modern cities, amazing architecture, colour and conversation.

My friend Yasmin has a Kickstarter project to help realise her dream of a book and documentary that celebrates the food and culture of Iran and her people, showing a different side of this diverse country than we normally see. Saffron: tales from the Persian Kitchen, is a twofold project featuring a recipebook and documentary. It will feature Iranians from every walk of life who will share their recipes as they cook with Yasmin and tell the stories behind their food. And they will of course feature gorgeous photographs of the participants, their food and their country.

Most of all I love this girl’s passion for this project and her enthusiasm and drive for all things in life … meaning things will happen! When she talks about this project her already sparkly eyes sparkle more and as she describes the food and the people and the country you can easily imagine that you are there, with the smell of spices and the noise and hubbub of Tehran around you. This, even if you are sitting on a beach in Thailand, physically far away from any of it. For instance:

I’d like to show you a different side of Iran. A side that entices you with its delicious and sophisticated cuisine; that takes your breath away with its dramatic landscapes of desert, tropical forests and snow-capped mountains; that touches your soul through the poetry of Rumi and Hafez and dazzles you with its intricate, beautiful architecture.

Things you might not know about Iran number 421. Tehran is a kick-ass skiing destination. Tehran in Spring & Mosque in Astaneh.

Kickstarter helps awesome cultural projects like Yasmin’s to get going – whether it be musicians, photographers, writers or even theatres and community museums.

This is an all or nothing funding campaign and Yasmin doesn’t get the money unless the total amount pledged reaches her target of £8,000

A little added incentive is some nice presents, depending on which level of funding you support.

The funding will go toward making a pilot documentary & producing sample chapters of the book.

Saffron: tales from the Persian kitchen has ten days left to go to reach the total, which is currently sitting at £7,010 with only £1,490 to go!

So please have a look at the awesome video on the Kickstarter page, share the project with your friends, like it on facebook and pledge a couple of quid if you can … or a couple of thousand – cause I seriously want to see what the mystery thankyou gift is when someone reaches Nuclear Level. Going by all the other gifts … it’s going to be pretty amazing 🙂

Man selling spices on the street in Rasht, May 2012.
Man selling spices on the street in Rasht, May 2012.
Made these yummy date pastries when I was in Iran last summer. Perfect with an afternoon cuppa.
Made these yummy date pastries when I was in Iran last summer. Perfect with an afternoon cuppa.
Hitting a sushi bar in Tehran last year. Inspired me to create an Iranian take on cerviche ...
Hitting a sushi bar in Tehran last year. Inspired me to create an Iranian take on cerviche …
Getting ingredients ready to make 'Baghalee Ghatogh', a special yummy recipe from northern Iran where my family are from. Can you guess the ingredients?
Getting ingredients ready to make ‘Baghalee Ghatogh’, a special yummy recipe from northern Iran where my family are from. Can you guess the ingredients?
 I scribbled these notes in Iran last year as I learnt how to make Kaleh Kabob ...
I scribbled these notes in Iran last year as I learnt how to make Kaleh Kabob …

All images & caption text by Yasmin Khan.

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7 thoughts on “Saffron: Tales from the Persian Kitchen

  1. kartwheels says:

    Ooh, I just love what you are doing here. Beautiful! I have an experimental cookbook project called Fooderella, wheras I am collecting recipes, photos, art and bits of food wisdom from around the world. I would LOVE to share something of yours, if you are interested. One way or the other, I’ll be peeking in here again and wish you much luck in your adventures!
    Cheers, Karen
    http://foodarella.me/

    1. nicole says:

      Hey there Karen, thanks for your comment. The project Saffron: Tales from a Persian Kitchen is my friend’s cookbook and documentary as mentioned. I will no doubt give a few updates on the project as it progresses from time to time. I will ask her if she is happy for your to reblog my post on your site as she doesn’t have one going as of yet. And I will definitely check your site out too – I am a sucker for all types of food blogs!

    1. nicole says:

      Thanks! I am so excited for Yasmin. I remember when she told me about it some months ago and I was dying to see the images and mouth watering for the recipes just from her description 🙂

  2. Yasmin Khan says:

    Thanks for all your lovely comments and thanks for the beautiful blog piece Nicole! Please check out my Kickstarter and pledge if you can. Any amount, no matter how small, brings this project one step closer to reality 🙂 Help getting the word out on FB and Twitter would be really great too. I think we could co-create something really exciting here, if we could just get it Kickstarted! Yasmin x

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