Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride

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There’s no better time to experience an authentic Persian meal than on Purim. Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride is Reyna Simnegar’s first cookbook and it’s an intriguing and fun read.

Reyna’s family history dates back to the Spanish Inquisition, when her family fled from Spain and eventually landed in Venezuela. Reyna was born in Caracas and moved to Los Angeles in 1995 to study at UCLA. There she met her Persian husband Sammy and when he decided to move to New York City to attend graduate school, Reyna decided to follow him. Sammy’s mother, afraid that her son would starve in New York without authentic Persian food, hosted Reyna for a week and taught her the intimate secrets of Persian cuisine. The rest is culinary history.

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Food Memories of Passovers Past

This will be my second Passover without my mother. Mom (A’H’) passed away on December 10th, 2010, just two weeks short of her 97th birthday.

Belle Rykiss was an outstanding cook and baker. She would make the most delicious meichels for her family and rarely needed to refer to a written recipe. Weeks before Pesach, we would have discussions on the best way to make the lightest, best-tasting Passover sponge cake, debating on how many eggs we needed to ensure that the cake would reach the very top of the tube pan. She would use a combination of potato starch and cake meal – she hated the taste of cakes made with just potato starch. I loved when she added grated bittersweet chocolate to her cake batter.

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