(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.
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