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The past six weeks have seen historic demonstrations sweep across Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, with protesters—the majority of whom are women—taking to the streets to address the country's status quo. Lale chats with Iranian-American cookbook author Naz Deravian, whose book Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories, won a 2019 Julia Child Foundation award, to discuss the current uprising, how food both maintains and strengthens her bonds with the country, and the ways that food culture can help shape our understanding of a place.
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Lale Arikoglu: Hello. I'm Lale Arikoglu, and welcome to Women Who Travel, a podcast for anyone who's curious about the world and excited to explore places both near and far from home.
There are certain foods that are practically ubiquitous in every country. Bread, noodles, for example. Rice is one of them, a core component of meals that you cross paths with in so many different ways when you're traveling. In Japan, I would often end up having rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner across a glorious array of dishes. Summer dishes in my father's home country of Turkey inevitably involved rice with kabobs or some other delicious grilled meat. In fact, rice in the Middle East is not just limited to Turkey, of course, and there are commonalities across Palestinian, Lebanese, and Iranian food. There's something communal about eating rice and one of my favorite rice dishes is tahdig, a traditional Iranian dish that you flip out of the pot like a pancake so that the crispy side sits at the top and you all get to crack through it like an egg.