Review: Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen

Title: Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen
Author: Donia Bijan
Place/s visited:

  • Tehran, Iran
  • Majorca, Spain
  • Fresno, California, USA

Why do we chronicle our lives? Is it because we have accomplished so much that we want people to know just how good our lives have been? Or is it because we are vain and we just can’t resist a little bit of boasting? Or is it because deep down we know we have a good story to tell that other people would learn some from?
Probably a little bit of everything of those. And that’s what this book is about and more.

Connecting anecdotes and snippets of the Bijans’ lives through food and recipes learned at her mother’s kitchen and recipe books, author Donia Bijan has crafted a memoir suffused with happiness, contentment and a yearning for an easier time in the past. These tales are nothing short of mesmerizing as they paint in your mind a tableau worthy of a five-course meal in a five-star restaurant. My favorite scenes were of the author’s younger self picking sour cherries from the trees they have grown at the back of the hospital that their family has built and their travel to Majorca where their explorations of the local cuisine has induced some hunger pangs in me. Oh, to have the means to take off for some time just to soak in a new culture and what they have to offer on the table and not be bothered to hurry from one tourist spot to another but I digress.

More than just a foodie book (and a really good one at that based on the salivating I was making while trying to finish it), the accounts told of her parents’ sacrifice and exodus and eventual stay in America were what made this book solid for me. While I did enjoy all the food discussions, I sometimes found myself losing focus because I couldn’t relate to the author’s experience. There was just a slight tinge of “haughtiness” appearing here and there, probably because the narratives are told in a light and breezy manner despite the seriousness of some of the topics, though that didn’t distract me much as all the food things reeled me back in. I couldn’t help but feel that with stories like this, some of the events that happened tended to be romanticized rather than viewed and reported through the hard lenses of reality. This is not a perfect tome but since I wasn’t looking for one, this was still totally enjoyable to me.

Verdict: A jetsetter’s must-have — Quite right when reading through flights / learning more about Persian cooking

I’m reviewing this book as part of the Foodies Read 2017 Challenge.
Sign-ups for January still available until 1/31 —!

Book image owned by the author and publisher.
Original image of the world map from
All other images in this post are copyrighted by The Traveling Reader, 2017.


Foodies Read 2017 Challenge

Who is the foodie?

Is he someone who is schooled in the intricacies of kitchen preparations? Someone who critiques and writes reviews? Someone who specializes in the certain cuisines? Or just someone who enjoys food?

Join me as I discover more about food and all its gastronomic mysteries with the Foodies Read 2017 Challenge!

This year, I’m aiming to read at least 9-13 food-related books or Sous-Chef according to the challenge levels.

  • Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
  • Pastry Chef: 4 to 8 books
  • Sous-Chef: 9 to 13 books
  • Chef de Cuisine: 14 to 18
  • Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19

This challenge is quite unique as there are monthly sign-ups for the reviews you have made of food-related books (that is if you’d be posting reviews though you aren’t required to do so) so I’ll just post here the original/December 2016 sign-up link:
The monthly sign-up buttons/links are located on the right panel of the blog.
UPDATED: February’s sign up link is here:
Anyone who signs up their reviews are eligible for the giveaways they’re hosting.

For now, I’m planning to read these:

There are no official hashtags but I think you can use #FoodiesRead2017 to promote the challenge.

All my progress would be posted here. Please stay tuned. 🙂
I do think that it might be better to read at least one book a month so I could join the sign-ups/giveaways. Hmmm… 🙂

Books Reviewed:

And you can check out what other reading challenges I’ve joined this year here:

The Foodies Read 2017 Challenge button is owned by
Book images are owned by their respective authors and publishers.
All other images in this post are copyrighted by The Traveling Reader, 2017.