In Athenaeus’ The Diepnosophists, one of the earliest fine living texts in the western world, the author remarks about “Persian luxury and extravagance.” This Greek author was merely mirroring what the then world knew as sophistication in gastronomy, rather than the Spartan concept that “hunger was the best sauce.” Persian cuisine is not something we often think about in this country, but there is a great deal of tradition and exchange throughout the eastern Mediterranean that owes a lot to this ancient cuisine. The number of cookbooks currently in print about this cuisine has never been greater. Persia is the historical name for what we know as Iran.
An Iranian couple living in Sacramento, Sima and Deen Rashidy, produce what has come to be recognized as exemplary versions of Iranian specialties. Under their “SIMA’S” label there are several delightful items, mainly condiments, that show off the intricacies of this ancient cuisine for modern times.
Several fruit preparations are made using local fruit, but a really special jam is Sima’s 3 Fruit Jam, made with Fuji apples, Blenheim apricots and quince. The elements are prepared when in season, then when all three have been made, they are blended together. Another different jam is the Carrot and Orange jam called “horig” which is unusual for us, but traditional in Persian cuisine.