In celebration of Persian New Year, (Norooz) and throw back Thursday, I wanted to share a photo of me in 1978 when I lived in Iran. I was in high school at Tehran American school and was a cheerleader. Living in Iran was a life changing experience. The hospitality of the Persian people was incredible. Arriving in that enormous, amazing city from the suburbs of Seattle where we only had a shopping mall in our town for about five years at that time… I was in heaven exploring such a dynamic. cosmopolitan place. I learned so many things about life, love, adventure & culture.
No-Rooz, in word, means “New Day”. It is the new day that starts the year, beginning of Spring. No-Rooz with its’ uniquely Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian (This was the religion of ancient Persia)
No-Rooz is Iran’s biggest celebration of the year. Before the new year arrives, they start cleaning their houses and they buy new clothes. My favorite part of the No-Rooz ritual is setting the “Haft Seen” with seven specific items starting with the letter “S”. In ancient times each of the items corresponded to one of the seven creations and the seven holy immortals protecting them. These seven things usually are: Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinager), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic). Sometimes instead of Serke they put Somagh (sumak, an Iranian spice).
My favorite Persian cookies are called, Nan-E Nokhochi (Persian Chickpea Flour Cookies)
Here is the recipe is you would like to try them:
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups chickpea flour
Beat butter & powdered sugar together until creamy.
Add egg yolk & cardamom.
With your hands knead in the chickpea flour until smooth.
Pinch off tiny pieces of dough about the size of hazelnuts and roll them into balls between the palms of your hands.
You can make them into any shape you like and decorate them if you like.
Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in a slow oven (300F) for about 30 minutes.
When I was learning Persian in 1979, I learned this song by heart and used to listen to Marjan over and over.. I just loved her!