Maman's Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan

Maman's Homesick Pie

For Donia Bijan's family, food has been the language they use to tell their stories and to communicate their love. In 1978, when the Islamic revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California's Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan's mother's cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her...

Details Maman's Homesick Pie

TitleMaman's Homesick Pie
Release DateOct 11th, 2011
PublisherAlgonquin Books
GenreFood and Drink, Food, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Cultural, Iran, Cookbooks

Reviews Maman's Homesick Pie

  • sarah gilbert
    Everything about this book said to me, "Sarah, love me!" Indeed, the idea still sings its exotic song to me. An immersion in the culture of Persia; an education in French cuisine; the exploration of a search for belonging through food. A family story, even; the story of Iranian daughters and their mother, living out her exile in America, with recipes.Indeed, I wanted to be told this story and the story's hope still haunts me. But sadly, Bijan wro...
  • Jaclyn Day
    If you’ve ever read a food memoir or food travelogue or any book by Anthony Bourdain, you may have come to expect certain things from the book. I know I do. I’ve read so many of these types of books that even the outstanding ones seem to blend into all the rest, what with their similar discussions of homemade cheeses or offal or France or great restaurants. It’s hard to write about food in an original way, and even those who do (Bourdain) a...
  • Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
    I enjoy biographies and memoirs, and I love to cook. Recently, though, the "cooking memoirs" I've dipped into have often been cookbooks with a few "heartwarming" anecdotes here and there as a vehicle for the recipes.This one is not. Yes, there are delicious-sounding recipes woven into the text, but it's more memoir than cookbook. While I didn't read it straight through, I will say it kept me up till midnight last night to finish it.I went to a sm...
  • Deborah
    This is a memoir to savor. It's a breath-taking account of a young woman who lived the life of a cherished and richly encompassed child of the world at large. I became spellbound by Donia Bijan's life story immediately, and found myself holding my breath as I grasped her book, not wanting to read it slowly, but speeding through its pages like a delicious crepe filled with Turkish coffee ice cream.While Ms Bijan's memoir is captivating in and of i...
  • Alison
    What a lovely book. I read it one rainy afternoon and wished I could sit and have a cup of tea with Donia Bijan. Instead, I made her cookies. A bittersweet story with yummy recipes.
  • Scheherazade W.
    Sad that the only Irooni narratives that seem to circulate in the public eye are those of privileged "Persian" royalists. Wanted to be excited about this book, loved the premise + topic, but that just totally deflated it for me. Monarchist hyperbole every other page and recipes that aren't as good as my grandma's.
  • Grady
    Another Aspect of Iran We All Need To HeedDonia Bijan has done far more than write a very tender and entertaining memoir, a progress record from a child who loved her mother's Persian cooking to successfully creating her own restaurant (L'Amie Donia) that marries the flavors of Persian, French and American cooking and ambiance. Donia Bijan gives us the insight into the real history of Iran, a country we too often see as a 'threatening other' in t...
  • loretta
    I loved this book! Donia’s writing is so beautiful. She has the wonderful gift of being able to tell a story through the prism of food. The descriptive language encompassing her recipes soften the heart breaking tale of her family’s escape from Iran as the revolution began. Her mother’s resilience and support of Donia’s aspirations permeate this wonderfully told memoir.
  • Daisy
    Apparently, ancient aunts... a pretty start to a sentenceTehran--Paris--San Franciscofoodmotherexilepomegranates walnuts lentils quinceI'd pass this sweet book on for someone else to enjoy except I must keep it for the recipes. I'd like to try almost everything in here.My copy is an ARC with the same illustration on the cover but the background is white. The only suggestion/hope I have is that the final edition included an index for the recipes l...
  • Toni
    A lovely memoir and tribute to the author's mother. Not only is Bijan a talented chef, to her credit she is also a very good writer. I felt as though I was with her, perched on a stool in her mother's kitchen, tasting and smelling the exotic and wonderful aromas. The bonus is that Bijan has added recipes for some of her Persian inspired foods - which also happens to be one of my favorite cuisines!
  • Amy
    The best part of the book was the recipes, otherwise it was a disappointment. Perhaps I am jaded being married to a Persian and having many Iranian friends and acquaintances. Make no mistake, Donia came from an extremely privileged family. Don't fall for the "our family came to the USA with nothing" spiel. But, her curated story is charming for those who allow themselves to be caught up in her food memoirs. I do think there was an authenticity wh...
  • Tracey Gemmell
    A beautiful biography about finding home combined with recipes that make you want to dive into your kitchen and never come out. Following Ms. Bijan from Tehran to Paris to California was a delightful journey. Highly recommended.
  • Laura
    I loved reading about this woman’s life- her childhood in Iran with an obstetrician father and midwife mother, exile in 1979, and finding a new life in San Francisco and France. A moving tribute to her mother (and the recipes look awesome).
  • Quiltmom14
    A sweet memoir of home and food, beautifully written from the heart. Two recipes at the end of each chapter as an added bonus (will definitely be making a few of them). Not as good as Last Days of Cafe Leila, but still very enjoyable to read.
  • Lisa R. Schofield
    Rich in love and warmthAn amazing story of a family of Iranian refugees during the Iran revolution and their will and love in adapting to the changes in their lives.
  • Catherine Gillespie
    My friend Emily suggested this book, in the sense that she tentatively asked our Persian friend Dina for permission to read it and Dina sort of sniffed. But I really love books that are part memoir, part cookbook, and I also really love Persian food, so I decided to try the book out. If you also like cooking memoirs you will probably really enjoy Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen. The author, Donia Bijan, grew up in T...
  • Sandra
    This is a simple, clean, and charming memoir, a sort of love letter (complete with recipes) to author Donia Bijan's mother. It perfectly captures -- and sometimes elucidates -- what I already knew of Iranian life, culture, and social norms, all of which I gleaned from my Iranian-American husband. I'd ordinarily give a book of this quality (writing style, topic(s), momentum, quality of introspection, etc.) four stars, but I really, really enjoyed ...
  • Diana Santoso
    Beautiful story and life and beautifully told. I'm always attracted to other culture and it's culinary. Reading this was a pleasure. However, some parts made me confused because it's like coming out of nowhere and I feel that the author's rambling in some other parts too. Like when she suddenly have a boyfriend in the US (where did that come from??), when she said her Father returns to Iran to practice as Ob-Gyn again and come back to the US from...
  • Pamela Wilbur
    Loved this memoire! A beautiful story of a girl's life, from a delicious & delightful childhood with her family in Iran to a transformative and courageous move to the US. There are fun stories about her life as a child, playing with sisters, cousins and friends, harmless mischief, family vacations, as well as charming details of her life living on the top floor of her parents' hospital building. If you love cooking and especially using fresh ingr...
  • Mary
    For Donia Bijan s family, food has been the language they use to tell their stories and to communicate their love. In 1978, when the Islamic revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California s Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan s mother s cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her...
  • Leslie
    This is a book by a chef who was born and lived in Iran till 1980 when her family (a colorful, talented, amazing lot) was forced to flee due to the whole Shah/revolution thing that happened. She goes to school in America and eventually to Paris to become a chef. She has always loved cooking and has a special knack for it. She devotes her entire life to it, which breaks her father's heart. He was a difficult and disappointed man, whose life did no...
  • Anne Afshar
    Interesting story about a family who fled Iran during the revolution. The author went through a great deal at a young age, separating from her family. She was always intrigued with different kinds of food and went on to pursue a career as a chef rather than a doctor as her father always wanted. I thought her family stories were described elegantly and wove together very well, seasoned with some recipes throughout. (I've read some very choppy biog...
  • Denise Geschke
    I really enjoyed this memoir for so many reasons. First, I enjoyed the descriptions of growing up in Iran with particular attention to tastes and smells. Second, the struggle of assimilating in America for both young adults and parents who had to adjust to language, lack of professional status and new cultural norms was described vividly with both frustration and empathy. Third, it was wonderful to read about becoming and maintaining a career as ...
  • Michèle Dextras
    This is a feel good book, an easy read. We learn a bit about Iran before, during and after the revolution and we learn a lot about the apprenticeship of a cook/chef. And as a bonus there are recipes throughout the book, several that I will try in my kitchen. The only criticism I have about this book is that we know next to nothing about Donia's two sisters. It would have rounded out this memoir to know more about them. As you read, the feeling is...
  • Stefania Shaffer
    This book made me hungry. I found I needed to create snack trays of dates, good cheeses, and blackberries (all I had in the fridge) in order to capture the spirit of combining Persian culture and Parisian menus. I loved the love story between mother and daughter, but also the backstory of the coming undone of the father without a purpose in his new land. A read that resonates long after you put it down.
  • Nancy Mattone
    After reading Maman's Homesick Pie for the second time, I needed to share Donia Bijan's beautiful memoir and purchased additional books for gifting! A Sweet and Delightful well received gift for my sisters and friends. Beautiful tribute to Donia Bijans family - A Lovely Book to Share and Re-read.
  • Courtney
    I made the orange cardamom cookies from this book. They aren't really difficult, though I'm not sure I made the logs of dough the right width because I didn't get three dozen cookies. They are delicate, pleasant cookies that are a bit like shortbread cookies. They will go very well with a cup of tea!
  • Debby
    I was motivated to read this autobiography after reading Donia Bijan's novel, The Last Days of Cafe Lelia. We do learn more here about life in Iran before the Shah and the contrasts to life in the U.S. The author includes delicious sounding recipes with each chapter. As she also trained as a French chef, the recipes are a mixture of Iranian and French.
  • Wendy Greenberg
    A lovely foodie read. The memoir focuses on her Iranian family life in exile, the influence of her mother and becoming a professional chef. Whilst the 3 prongs are all intertwined, the beating heart is the relationship with her mother's food and her/its hold over her life. I found it an absorbing and comforting read with some great recipes