I used to love the cold winter nights when we all sat around, under the Korsi* to keep cosy and warm. Outside my grandma’s little house you could only see shimmering glitters of snowflakes bouncing on top of one another.
After dinner, Mamma Touran used to bake a wholesome pastry, called Komajeh Sen, from freshly stoneground wheat-germ flour, dates, walnuts and spices. The aroma of Komajeh Sen was to DIE FOR and everyone impatiently waited for a cup of freshly brewed tea from the samovar** to complement it. While munching on the hot pastry and sipping the tea, we would listen to sweet stories, skilfully recited by Mamma Touran, which was enjoyed by old and young alike. She had a joyful spirit and a big smile. The satisfaction of having helped others at work, as a nurse, and the humanitarian activities in her spare time contributed to her happiness.
Then it was Yalda, the longest night of the year, the only night when the stories stretched way beyond our bed-time. On this special occasion we would always have extra treats, such as specially peeled and decorated pomegranates, bamieh*** and snow-fluffs, saturated with home-made grape syrup. Of course those days Tehran was not such a polluted city, therefore it was safe to indulge in some freshly landed snowflakes!
As the years went by there was a huge transformation in my life. We moved to UK, where I spent my adolescent and teenage years. I also lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for fourteen years, where my three children grew up. Ten years ago we decided to settle down in New Zealand as my two sisters had moved here and married my Kiwi brother-in-laws.
An interesting twist of fate was that my mother used to love geography lessons when at school in Tehran. She recalls once having pin-pointed New Zealand on the map and telling my grandmother “I wonder if anybody actually lives on this island. I’d love to see what this place looks like but I would never ever live in the middle of the ocean”! Little did she know that one day she would spend six months of each year in "the middle of ocean" to enjoy her daughters’ and grand-children’s company!
*A square table covered with quilts and blankets with a brazier under it to heat the legs and body.
** A traditional metal urn for boiling the water and making tea.
*** Mini Persian churros
Member since 2011
Region: Australia East/New Zealand
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