Why Iran?

Last year at work, our directors had a meeting in Melbourne, and I found myself at dinner seated next to our Canadian director. I was telling him about my around the world in 80 cuisines adventure, and the great food we’ve been sampling. We got to talking about Canadian food. Maple syrup is OK, but I cannot bring myself to love salmon, and how anyone can love poutine is completely beyond me – it’s gross.

He then said “well, I’m from Iran. They have great food”. Yes! I immediately nominated Iran as my next choice.

My experience of Iran

As with Egypt, I have never been to Iran and have never eaten their food. I expect it will include  rose water, pistachios and pomegranate.

But I have to admit that, while acknowledging that the internet is not the ultimate truth about anything, there is not much that I have read about Iran that tempts me in any way to go there. Hopefully the facts I have found are waaaaay out of date but, if even if a fraction of the internet can be believed, the treatment of women in Iran is appalling. I don’t care that the English word “paradise” comes from the Persian language – I’m still not tempted.


Normally our international lunches are on the last Sunday of the month, which would be 24 June, but Will has a concert on that day (Will is in a barbershop chorus – go Melbournaires!), so we’ll have it on Saturday 23 June. Except that Jan works until 4:00pm on Saturdays (at North Ringwood Meat Supply), so we’ll have dinner in Iran on Saturday 23 June.

I’ve invited my friend from work, Jess and her husband, Brian. Jess is going to make a Persian love cake. Sounds delicious!

There’s kind a symmetry in our guests for Iran – Jan was my friend in my first job and Jess is my friend from (hopefully) my last job.

Elysia is not able to come to lunch in Iran, which is a great pity. She has another commitment, as all teenagers should on a Saturday night!

I went to the South Melbourne Market yesterday (9 June) to check out the more unusual types of food they have there. I wish I had done the menu planning before I went, but I got some Persian fairy floss, which I’ll be able to use somewhere. I also got snails in brine for lunch in France next month.

The menu requires food such as sweet lemons, barberries and sour dried cherries, so I might go down to Leo’s in Kew next Friday. Other than that, I’m sure there’ll be some middle eastern shops in Coburg or Brunswick.

The menu

Much as the country itself doesn’t inspire me, the menu sounds delicious. I’m going to have to make reduced quantities otherwise there’ll be so much food left over that even Lauren’s chooks won’t be able to get through it all (the amount and variety of food that those chooks eat is amazing!).

Here’s what we’ll be having:

  • Persian rose cocktail
  • Ajil-e moshkel gosha (problem-solving nuts)
  • Nan-e barbari (Persian flatbread)
  • Crispy-bottomed Persian rice
  • Kuku sabzi (Persian omelette)
  • Ghalieh maygu (Persian Gulf prawns)
  • Fesenjan (Persian pomegranate chicken)
  • Kuku sibzamini (Persian-style saffron and potato fritters)
  • Yoghurt and beet salad
  • Faloodeh (rosewater and lime noodle sorbet)
  • Bastani (Persian rosewater, saffron and pistachio ice-cream)
  • Persian love cake

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Iran

Here’s the place-mat –Place-mat_Iran