Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: In a Persian Kitchen

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, May 3, 2016

The Persian word for “cook” is ash-paz, literally “maker of the soup.” The word “kitchen” in Persian is ash-pas-khâneh, that is, “the house of the cook.”

This is probably the best Iranian/Persian cookbook I have; it is definitely the one I use most often.

AuthorMaideh Mazda
Year1960
Length175 pages
Book Rating8

The subtitle is “Favorite Recipes from the Near East”. I have four recipes from In a Persian Kitchen in my make often list:

  • Hot yogurt soup, from page 38
  • Eggplant sauce with chicken, from page 90
  • Yogurt & curry sauce chicken, from page 101
  • Spinach orange sauce chicken, from page 104

And I haven’t even tried all the recipes that I want to try. This is the cookbook that convinced me not to remove the skin from eggplant.

There’s an amazing-looking squash stew with nutmeg and beef, a peach stew with paprika and chicken that looks like the food of the gods, and many, many more. There are a lot of lemons, limes, and other fruit, and a lot of wonderful spices.

Maideh Mazda was initially raised Persian in Baku, Azerbaijan, back when it was part of the Soviet Union, and returned to Persia when she was still a child. She talks a little about her experiences, but not much; most of the book is filled with wonderful recipes. There are appetizers, soups, stuffed vegetables and fruits, pilafs, sauces for pilafs, egg casseroles, specifically meat dishes, desserts, and salads.

The sauces are basically stews, and have so far been uniformly amazing. Most of the recipes contain beef, lamb, or chicken; the “meat and fowl” section focuses on kababs and meatball-like recipes.

You can pretty much open the book at random and find something enticing and amazing. I just tried it and found a stuffed apple; the apples are stuffed with yellow split peas, ground beef, cinnamon, and so forth. This is one of my favorite cookbooks and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Berani Esfanaj (Spinach Hors d’oeuvre)

  • 1 lb. spinach,
  • 1 cup water,
  • 1 medium onion (chopped),
  • 4 tbsp. butter,
  • 1 cup yogurt,
  • ½ tsp salt,
  • ½ tsp cinnamon,
  • ½ tsp pepper,
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (chopped).
  1. Clean, wash, and chop the spinach.
  2. Boil spinach in water ten minutes.
  3. Sauté onions in butter.
  4. When onions are half done, squeeze the water from the spinach and add it to the onions.
  5. Sauté a few more minutes.
  6. Add the spinach/onion mixture to the yogurt.
  7. Add the seasoning.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Let cool.
  10. Serve cold.

In a Persian Kitchen

Maideh Mazda

My cost: $9.95

Recommendation: Wonderful

If you enjoyed In a Persian Kitchen…

If you enjoy Middle-Eastern, you might also be interested in Eggplant hummus, Persian eggplant stew, Persian-style tofu and rice, Rose-water kodafa with pistachio, Lebanese Cuisine, and The Art of Syrian Cookery.