I began this blog, at least in its original form, years ago, as a place to gather recipes for friends and family. It is an extra bonus that others enjoy it, as well. When I taught English, I often engaged in author study as a way to take a deeper dive into understanding a writer’s body of work. I had a similar inspiration, but this time with the cooking world. There are certain cookbooks I love, and others I am eager to read. I figure if it interests me, it may interest you. And for those who are friends or family, you are welcome to borrow them anytime.
Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories by Naz Deravian is a gift that keeps on giving. I don’t know much about Persian food personally, and only had limited experience at a few restaurants in the DC area. I loved the precision of the rice and the abundance of saffron, as well as slow cooked stews. I was inspired to purchase this book after watching an episode of Taste the Nation dedicated to Persian cuisine, where this author and cookbook are featured. We loved it so much that we ended up ordering another copy for my mother to try, and I may or may not have yelled at my husband for getting the book dirty within the second week of purchase
Top Three Recipes
- Saffron Chicken – this is an incredibly sound, simple dish to make. We make it every single week and serve it over rice. Don’t be fooled by how simple the recipe seems. In a short amount of time, you get an incredible depth of flavor.
- Everyday Turmeric Chicken – This is a versatile dish that can be either a home meal, an exciting appetizer or party platter.
- Celery Stew – In truth, the title “celery stew” does not give this dish justice. Think of it as chicken, celery and mint stew. It was gorgeous.
One way this cookbook truly stands out is its readibility. The prologue and introduction give you a beautiful context to the author’s journey both to the United States and her return to her Persian cooking roots. There is a fair amount of technical skill and advice, interspersed by historical and poetic tidbits introducing each recipe. For example, we learned to soak our saffron, and that has been a complete game changer. So much care and thought went into the writing, and it is wonderful to read. It’s a masterpiece, really.
I personally think that Deravian does an incredible job of explicitly explaining how to cook the dishes, especially ones with techniques that may be unfamiliar. As a gauge, my husband (who is a complete beginner) was able to cook some of these dishes with no assistance from me.