Let's celebrate mother's day
In September last year freelance writer Mahsa Fratantoni, 28, and her gorgeous 50-something mother Maria Jalalat, who runs a mortgage referral business, decided on a mother and daughter project to bond them together forever through their shared love of food.
Creating the fabulous foodie website Maman's Kitchen was a great excuse to have a regular mum and daughter date. So, these two come together weekly in Sydney at their family kitchen to create one of Maria’s traditional Persian recipes, to talk about cultural and family traditions and, “devour all the meals the instant after the brag shot is taken,” laughs Mahsa.
Q How did you come up with the concept for Maman's Kitchen?
A We started Maman's Kitchen last year, simply as a platform to preserve and share my family's Persian recipes and customs. The recipes are passed down from Mum, or Maman in farsi, to me, her Aussie raised daughter.
I write about the recipes and the stories behind the food as a way of connecting my Persian roots with my Aussie upbringing. Mum's very talented in the kitchen, but I'm just in training, so we want people who've never tried Persian cooking or want to learn more to come on this journey with us. Since starting up we've had such an overwhelming positive response to the blog, both here and overseas. Our online following is growing, especially on Instagram.
Q Have you always shared a love of food with your Mum?
A Yes! We're huge foodies in our family. But in the traditional sense, in that food for us is mostly about enjoying meals with family and friends. It always surprises me how people overthink food these days. Mum has always taught us that meal time is synonymous with family time and that nutritious homemade meals are meant to be shared with good friends and family.
Q Any special mother-daughter moments to share?
A Several years ago we travelled to Iran as a family and I had the opportunity to visit Mum's home town in Shiraz, a southern Iranian city known for its poets, its literature and beautiful gardens. Mum grew up in a pre-revolutionary Iran, when the Shah was head of state. I learned a lot about my mum during this trip and I got a sense of how she became the person she is today. I think there's nothing more special than going to the place where your parents grew up, and learning about the kinds of things they experienced when they were around your own age. It really puts life into perspective, especially for children of migrant families.
Q What is your favourite recipe from your Mum's collection?
A It's hard to choose my favourite recipes, they're all amazing and it really comes down to the season and occasion. For lunch I love kuku sibzamini, potato fritters, and kuku sabzi, herb frittata. Kuku recipes are really simple, and a nice introduction to Persian cooking for people who are just starting out. Also nothing beats chatting about your day over a pot of Persian tea with shirini (selection of Persian sweets).
Q Why are you particularly proud of your Mum?
A Regardless of what we've been through, Mum's always stayed true to herself and I really admire this. I always think people remember you by how you make them feel, not necessarily by what you do in life, and Mum is a perfect example of this. She's accomplished some pretty amazing things already, but it's her warmth, patience and love for food and family that defines her the most. She has this ability to make people around her feel good about themselves and I try to live my life the same way.
Q How will you spoil her this Mother's Day?
A Mum's always cooking, she's never far from the kitchen even on Mother's Day. Growing up, we've always made sure she's had breakfast in bed before she gets the chance to make it to the kitchen, but since I no longer live at home, my brothers and I have to come up with different ways to treat her. In the past few months I've learnt so much about Persian cooking so this year I'm planning to surprise her with my own Persian inspired dessert recipe. She’ll have to wait until Mother's day to find out what it is!
Visit Maman's Kitchen here.
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