Home is not just a place; it is a smell, a taste, a feeling. It is sounds and colors, traditions and quirky habits. It is experiences and memories.

Today, Shermin Kruse whisks us away to her Iran. A glimpse of her home through her list of favorite Iranian things.

What is your favorite Iranian dish?

Khoreshte fesenjan. A thick, textured stew, almost like a Mexican mole, made from pomegranate molasses and walnuts. It takes at least eight hours to make properly and is typically served with rice and chicken. I enjoy it with pickles on the side; their tart taste accentuates out the pomegranate and walnut flavors.

Favorite drink?

Doogh. A yogurt and mint drink.

What about dessert?

Falloudeh. Sweet frozen noodles flavored with rose water.

Favorite word in Persian:

Azizam. My dear one.

What is your favorite thing about Iran?

There are so many things! The food, the history, the architecture, the art scene. Family parties. The people. The spice markets. The Alborz mountains and the hill-cities by the Caspian Sea.

What is your favorite holiday in Iran?

Eid NowRuz. An ancient festival (NowRuz means “New Day” in Persian) that begins at the stroke of the vernal equinox, when the sun crosses the equator and day is equally divided between light and dark. It marks the melting away of Winter and the welcoming of Spring.

The celebration goes on for thirteen days. The streets are covered with seasonal fruits, tulips and hyacinth, chickpea pastries, and new spring fashions. Families gather around their haftseen, a ceremonial spread that some describe as a mashup of Easter, Passover, the Day of the Dead, and Chinese New Year symbology (see photo).

Favorite spot in Tehran:

The bazaar.

Favorite aspect of Iranian culture:

So many answers to this question! Chief are dance, food, warmth, and hospitality.

What is one thing you can only find in Iran?

Street corner stands that offer roasted beets and soaked walnuts.

What is one thing an Iranian would never do?

Disrespect guests and elders. That is a huge cultural taboo.

If Iran were a word, it would be …

Culture.

If Iran were a color, it would be…

Red.

If it were a smell, it would be…

Jasmine.

Experiencing the Iran Shermin Kruse loves, through a list of her favorite things.

Surprising Facts About Iran: Part 1

Surprising Facts About Iran: Part 2

Yara Zgheib

Author Yara Zgheib

Yara is a writer, policy researcher and analyst, and lover of culture, travel, nature, art. She is the author of The Girls at 17 Swann Street and blogger behind Aristotle at Afternoon Tea. She has written for The Huffington Post, The Four Seasons Magazine, The Idea List, A Woman’s Paris, and Holiday Magazine. Wearing her other hat, she consults with governments and the nonprofit sector on peace and security strategies, with an emphasis on conflict resolution, counter terrorism, and countering violent extremism. She is a Fulbright scholar with a PhD in international affairs, who has given courses on human security, but also art history, ballet and etiquette. Yara was born in Lebanon and has since lived in Glasgow, Washington, Paris, Saint Louis, and now Boston. She likes books and smart conversations, early morning yoga, evening walks.

More posts by Yara Zgheib

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