For Donia Bijan’s family, food has been the language they use to tell their stories and to communicate their love. In 1978, when the Islamic revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California’s Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan’s mother’s cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her mother, whose love and support enabled Bijan to realize her dreams.
From the Persian world of her youth to the American life she embraced as a teenager to her years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (studying under the infamous Madame Brassart) to apprenticeships in France’s three-star kitchens and finally back to San Francisco, where she opened her own celebrated bistro, Bijan evokes a vibrant kaleidoscope of cultures and cuisines. And she shares thirty inspired recipes from her childhood (Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant and Orange Cardamom Cookies), her French training (Ratatouille with Black Olives and Fried Bread and Purple Plum Skillet Tart), and her cooking career (Roast Duck Legs with Dates and Warm Lentil Salad and Rose Petal Ice Cream).
An exhilarating, heartfelt memoir, Maman’s Homesick Pie is also a reminder of the women who encourage us to shine.
Here are a few of the reviews from BOOK CLUB participants.
If you plan on participating in today’s BOOK CLUB, please consider subscribing to comments at the bottom of the page, and check back throughout the day as more questions are added to the post.
- What were your general impressions of the book?
- Is this a book you would have read had you not been reading it for a book club?
- Did you find the title to be an appropriate one for the memoir? Did it shape your experience and thoughts while reading? How?
- Before you started reading Maman’s Homesick Pie, how familiar were you with the Islamic Revolution in Iran? Was your understanding furthered by reading this memoir?
- Bijan’s relationship with her father was affected by her choosing a different path in life, how do you think things might have been different for the family had they stayed in Iran?
- Whic recipe were you most likely to try and which do you think you’d be leat likely to try? Which foods and recipes from your past have the strongest connections to your family?
- What kinds of questions did you have during your reading? Were they answered?
12 review copies of Maman’s Homesick Pie were provided by Algonquin Books in order to facilitate this discussion. Thank you so much!