Eating in Iran (What Pegman Saw Fiction and Bourdain Notes)

(Fiction word count: 150)

Eating in Iran

Photographing the Azadi Tower in Iran brought a sense of awe.

8,000 blocks of marble stacked to fifty meters felt like it lifted us right into heaven.


Afterwards, we flew to Shiraz and then carpooled to Persepolis to see marble remains from 500 B.C. The guide explained, “Elaborate palaces were designed to convey perception of a powerful empire.”

Some things are timeless, I mused. Human perceptions are STILL conditioned by context and subjective interpretation. Humans STILL use grandiosity to condition and make impressions.


Back in Tehran,

the trip unexpectedly came alive with food. Uncorrupted food can be found in the States, but timeless Iranian meals had gut-friendly options – satisfied and nourished.

We enjoyed Lavesh, unleavened flat bread without added glucose; koobideh, a meat-mix without corn feedings; and Doogh, a salty-minty yogurt drink without added sugar.

We sat on the cafe ground to dine but it felt like a trip to heaven.



Author Notes:

When Iran came up as Pegman’s location this week, I instantly thought of Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Show that featured his trip to Iran, exploring Tehran and Isfahan, back in 2014. I have only seen about a dozen of Bourdain’s shows and the Iran one stood out a lot. Bourdain’s travel show, Parts Unknown (here), was masterful in the way it highlighted so much culture. Many food shows give us the scoop on food, but only a few travel shows get deep inside the culture of a place – and Bourdain had a way of giving us food as well as the people and their stories.

I have previously noted that Bourdain’s alcoholic drinking was a turn-off to some viewers (he often drank like a freshman in college….tsk….)-  but his show was spectacular and a great light has gone out with Bourdain’s permanent departure from this world. It is mere coincidence that my fiction for Pegman this week has mentioned heaven, although it feels fitting to mention heaven (even loosely) with Bourdain’s recent departure.

I guess that Bourdain’s Iran episode (here) also led to trouble for one of the guys interviewed for the show. They were dining on a cliff-side cafe and the man shared sketchy comments about Iran. (Um, probably not the wisest move on his part.) Also inspiring was that Travel-n-Leisure (here) reported Bourdain was shocked by the good food and warm hospitality he received while visiting Iran: “I was really knocked sideways by how well we were treated in Iran and how delicious the food was and how hospitable ordinary people were to us.” 

And so this was in my mind as I wrote today’s fiction. I am ready to try some unleavened bread, piled with koobideh, while sipping some salty yogurt doogh. mmmm

What about you – have you had Iranian food? Would you even want to visit there?

Do you feel like joining in with the Pegman challenge? To join in or to read more short writing fiction entries for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge, go here. The writing mission is “to write up to 150 words of fiction inspired by the prompt. You may write poetry, fiction, or an essay…”










33 thoughts on “Eating in Iran (What Pegman Saw Fiction and Bourdain Notes)

    1. Well thanks for the comment and I hope your new friend, Ladane, can join in. I almost mentioned that in my post – but chose to not – but it was fun that you chose a prompt for her – such kindness and shows our global connecting.

      oh and I did include some active links in my author note section – one of the links takes us to the Iran episode “notes” site – I think it does – I will double check

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have, actually. We have a young friend, a former co-worker of my wife and former babysitter/beloved honorary aunt for our boys, and she and her family are second generation Iranian expats. She’s fantastic, our boys LOVE her, and she and her then-husband even vacationed with us a time or two. She introduced us to Iranian food. It’s really good, and not overly spiced. I can’t recall what each dish was called, but she never made us anything I didn’t like. We miss her a bunch, as she now lives in San Jose, CA.


    1. well this says a lot: “she never made us anything I didn’t like….”
      and so does the not overly spiced…
      we just recently tried masala coffee and it felt over spiced – actually tasted like a Malaysian rug shop? (someone said that) – and we used to live in San Jose- I wonder if she likes it there

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Iranian food is great. Tony Bourdain was a huge influence on me since first reading his New Yorker piece in 1999. I had spent my early adulthood working in restaurants and was so impressed by his take on what it was like. I liked his TV shows pretty well. It was like traveling with an old friend. I never did get a chance to meet him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. well is sounds like you were a fan of his for a long time and your seasoning with the restaurant business speaks even more to his giftedness –


  3. Mm, that sounds so delicious! We are lucky enough here on the west coast to have a wealth of restaurants and grocery stores representing cuisines from all over the world. But I feel especially lucky that my local grocery store is a Middle Eastern grocer and take-away place, with some of the most amazing foods you can believe. Usually I buy the ingredients and make the dishes myself, but I leave baking the fresh lavash to them — that is, assuming I can get it all the way home without eating most of it in the car already!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ha – I can imagine you eating the lavesh (make that fresh lavesh) on the ride home –
      and thanks for the rich comment – I bet it is fun to shop at that store….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is! Well, it’s fun to get the great food and the inexpensive and exotic produce, but it’s not so fun when it’s crowded, which is pretty much always. Luckily everyone is friendly and polite there.


      2. that means so much that they are polite – and I do not care how great a place is – I will not go back if there is snottiness or rudeness – have no room in my life for that

        Liked by 1 person

    1. well thanks so much Restless Jo – that was nice to read – even though I think you find so many things on blogs to keep you there – which is why you have been voted for with those Brit Blog awards… you have that heart thing for so many… and thx for the visit


  4. We have several restaurants here that serve wonderful Iranian food. Perhaps we need to go out tomorrow night. But first, I must look up a recipe for Doogh. It sounds like heaven on a hot summer’s night.


    1. and just wording it that way has a nice shakespearean feel –
      Midsummer’s Night drink…

      ““Love looks not with the eyes, but with the yogurt drink…” well maybe not!


  5. I have not eaten any Iranian food, but of course I would. I haven’t met a food origin I haven’t liked, and I don’t see why it would be the first.
    Bourdain was beloved by me. Just beloved. ❤


  6. You’ve written n interesting take on the prompt. I like the contrast between the way powerful men build monuments to impress us, but actually we take much more notice of delicious food!


  7. I remember being struck by this episode too. I loved Bourdains fearlessness He Could write as if he were your companion on a trip, and yet dare to try things you might never have the guts to attempt. I like the way he pushed politics out of the way to expose the good in the people, their culture, their ways making the strange seem approachable. He will be missed. Thank you for taking us on what could have been one of his more daring jaunts.


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