• Counter :
  • 295
  • Date :
  • 12/20/2011

Persian Cuisine, a Brief History

part 1

cuisine

Persian cuisine is ancient, varied and cosmopolitan. Eating habits and products from ancient Greece, Rome and many Asian and Mediterranean cultures have influenced and are affected by this unique cuisine.

            It has borrowed spices, styles and recipes from India and has in turn influenced Indian food. There are many dishes that are shared by both Iranians and Turks to the extent that it is hard to say who has borrowed what and from where. The archives at the major ancient Persian cities contain names of many food products, ingredients, beverages, herbs, spices and wine, an important ceremonial and religious drink. Basil, mint, cumin, cloves, saffron and coriander were traded along with olive all over the ancient trade routes. The Parthian and the Sasanian records mention walnut, pistachio, pomegranate, cucumber, broad bean, pea and sesame in their trade records. The ancient physicians influenced by the Greek sciences considered food and beverages important factors to revive body. Excessive consumption of too much red meat and fats was thought to upset body's balance.

While a balanced combination of fruits, vegetables, poultry, herbs, seeds and mixed petals and blossoms of roses was regarded as a very good diet capable of strengthening body and mind.

Muslims, through the Iranians and the Byzantines, borrowed the entire Greek medicine and sciences. They adopted the ancient Greek principle that disease was caused by a fundamental imbalance in the body between certain opposed qualities, such as heat and cold (sardi/garmi), or wetness and dryness (tari/khoshki). The physicians of the period improved Hippocrates (460-377BC) ideas who had proposed that health resulted from the equal influence of four bodily "humors" that was analogous to the four elements of the Greek physics (earth, water, air and fire). Food became an important factor instrumental in maintaining the body's balance.

The ideas of cold and hot foods are still believed by many Iranians and in planning for meals such considerations will be paid attention to. From region to region, the classifications may vary. In general, animal fat, poultry, wheat, sugar, some fresh fruits and vegetables, and all dried vegetables and fruits are considered as hot. Most beef, fish, rice, dairy products, fresh vegetables and fruits are considered as cold. In planning for meals people's nature, season or illness, will be considered and cold or hot or a combination of the two foods will be produced. For instance, walnut, a hot food is usually combined in a dish that includes pomegranate, a cold food, to make the dish balanced and delicious. Or a variety of pickles are consumed when eating fatty or fried foods to neutralize the effect of too much fat.

Iranians are avid consumers of dairy products and many still make their own yogurt and cheese at home.

Women have had a great influence in the history of cooking in Iran. The best chefs were and still are women. From the palaces of the Persian kings to the average housewife, women have had fabulous skills preparing exquisite cuisine. Most men do no cook but expect the best food from their wives or mothers. Iranians regard most foods at restaurants as second-class and homemade food is precious and more appreciated. Even for weddings and major parties when catering services are used, the food is expected to be the same quality as the best homemade food. Restaurants both in Iran and outside the country prepare a very small selection of Iranian cuisine. They are very limited in choice and are most popular for rice and kebabs known as chelo kebab.


Other Links:

Haft Keshvar (7 Countries)-part 1    

History of Ancient Medicine in Mesopotamia & Iran-part 1   

Iran, a Brief History (part 1)    

A – Z of Iran History (A)   

History of Ancient Medicine in Mesopotamia & Iran-part 2   

Persian Cuisine, a Brief History (part 2)

Persian Cuisine, a Brief History (part 2)

Persian Cuisine, a Brief History (part 2)
Iran, a Brief History (part 2)

Iran, a Brief History (part 2)

Iran, a Brief History (part 2)
Iran, a Brief History (part 1)

Iran, a Brief History (part 1)

Iran, a Brief History (part 1)
Iran’s first circular city

Iran’s first circular city

Iran’s first circular city
  • Print

    Send to a friend

    Comment (0)

  • x