Dinner in Iran

starsTonight my Iranian father-in-law is over cooking a classic feast, blasting our kitchen with wonderful Persian scents and telling little stories about his childhood. I’m waiting for things to come together. Our kitchen is small– too many cooks in there and it’s no good at all!

I’ve had one job so far: refilling the salt shaker. That’s not much of a job at all. Goodie. I can’t wait to eat what he cooks up. It’s rainy tonight and we can’t see the stars.

When my father-in-law was growing up in Iran, he ate things like khoresht-e havij and a soup called ash. What a name. Tonight he’s cooking by rote, putting together the ingredients as they come to him. He just sent my guy and his brother out for some more onions and potatoes.

While they were out he told me a few more stories, recalling the feel of pistachios against his hand at the local grocer or running down the dusty lanes of his neighborhood. At night he sometimes slept on the family roof.

“You can’t believe how fast it goes,” he said. “One night you’re seventeen, staring at all the stars in the sky above Iran. When you wake up, you’re forty-five. You are very far away from home.”