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BECKY: Please join me in welcoming to Google New York
LOUISA SHAFIA: Thanks Becky.
JACI BADZIN: So your book opens with a really great
introduction to your history and your heritage.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your personal story
and your connection with Persian food?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Sure, well, my dad is from Iran.
He grew up in a town called Qazvin, which I'm not
saying in a nearly guttural enough way.
It's really Qazvin.
And then he moved to Tehran as a teenager,
and then he came to the US to Philadelphia,
to be exact, to finish his medical degree.
So he came from a large Muslim family,
and in Philly he met my mom, who is an American Ashkenazi Jew.
JACI BADZIN: Very interesting.
LOUISA SHAFIA: And they fell in love and got married.
And so I grew up with a very diverse household
in Philadelphia, and as most Iranian men,
my dad wasn't doing a ton of cooking,
but my mom wanted to make the dishes of his homeland
that he loved so she really taught herself
how to make Persian dishes.
And so maybe once every few weeks on a Sunday
my mom would start the long, slow process
of making a big Persian feast for us.
And my dad would help.
I've got to give him credit.
He would help.
These flavors we're kind of my every day flavors.
They were just part of my world.
It wasn't until I was an adult and really
exploring all different kinds of culinary traditions
that I kind of realized this awesome food heritage
that I have.
JACI BADZIN: Did you grew up cooking with your mom
or was it something you explored later on in life?
How did you find that interest in cooking?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Yes, I was recruited by my mom
around age five-- no joke, to help prepare for dinner parties
and gatherings that she would have.
My mom loves to entertain, and she's an amazing cook herself.
I'm sure that's where I got the bug to love to cook.
And she would have us, my sister and I,
prepare crudites platters and very simple desserts
And so I just grew up feeling very comfortable
experimenting with food, so that's
for sure where it comes from.
JACI BADZIN: That's so interesting.
And this is your second cookbook that's out,
and you've also written numerous articles
for publications, "Food 52," the "Wall Street Journal."
How did you get interested in writing about food?
Was that something that was also from a young age
or was it something that you found when you were older?
LOUISA SHAFIA: I really got into writing
after I had my catering company for a couple of years.
I had a catering company called Lucid Food that
was all about sustainable catering, really bringing
the world of eco-friendly thinking and locavore approach
to eating to the world of fine-dining,
doing something more interesting than pigs in blankets
at nice corporate events.
And people got really excited that you
could have these beautiful, elegant hors d'oeuvres that
were all sourced from the farmer's market,
and everything was being composted along the way.
And no one was really doing it in New York at that time,
and people were so curious and excited by this
because they hadn't really come across it before that that's
when I got inspired to write my first cookbook, which
is "Seasonal Cooking and Eco-friendly
Tips for the Kitchen." and I just kind of wanted
to take all that experience that I got with my catering company,
and all those things I shared and share them
with a bigger audience in a book.
JACI BADZIN: So this book is called, the new book,
is called "The New Persian Kitchen."
What is your definition of the new Persian kitchen?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Well, the new Persian kitchen-- well,
I should say in context, Persian cooking
has a very different timeline than say,
American cooking or even European cooking.
Persian cooking goes back literally thousands of years.
So at the ruins of Persepolis, which was the ancient ritual
capital of the Persian Empire, what
is now modern day Iran, the makings of fesenjoon stew,
which is one of the most iconic stews eaten today in Iran.
It's made from ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses.
All the makings of that were found written on stone tablets
So even back then, they were using pomegranates.
They were using walnuts.
They were using parsley.
They were using garlic.
So when you say the new Persian kitchen,
it's taking something that's very ancient
and kind of riffing on it.
So I'm sort of doing a take on Persian food that's
very much inspired by this ancient cuisine,
by the very sensuous ingredients, like saffron
and rose water and sumac, and filtering it
through my own very healthy way of eating.
So putting in whole grains, instead of white rice.
Cutting back on sugar, really trying to put the emphasis back
on fresh fruits and vegetables, which really
are the foundation of Persian food.
JACI BADZIN: So the inspiration for this cookbook would be,
was it founded more in your heritage?
Was it wanting to express your new techniques
and connect them back with your roots?
Where did this inspiration come from to write this book?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Well, I entered the professional culinary world
with a very strong focus on healthy cooking.
In fact, I was vegan when I started my career as a chef.
JACI BADZIN: That's interesting.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Yes, and I went to a very healthy cooking
It's called the Natural Gourmet Institute.
It's here in New York, and I was vegan at the time.
I entered-- all of my teachers at the school
were middle-aged women, and they all told me being vegan
was the worst thing I could do for my health.
So I left cooking school no longer vegan,
and after I finished, I moved to San Francisco
to cook at this awesome vegan restaurant called Millennium.
And I have to say one of my first meals
in San Francisco was at Luna Park,
and I had fish for the first time in a few years.
I'm bringing that up because you said you used to work there.
JACI BADZIN: That's how I got my start at Google,
as a hostess at Luna Park, in case you guys are wondering.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Great restaurant.
JACI BADZIN: It's a great restaurant.
Still open, too.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Still going strong.
Yeah, I started cooking at Millennium, loved it.
Was so inspired by all the different ingredients
we were using.
In San Francisco at the time, that was 2001.
Everyone was already deeply into the locavore thing,
and we had farmers coming to the back door of the restaurant
dropping off foraged mushrooms and chilies
and all kinds of cool things.
So one day, my chef asked me if I would come up
with a new dish for the menu.
And we were already using a huge diversity of ingredients,
Korean things, Japanese, African, and my first thought
was what can I do that no one's done here yet?
And I knew nobody had done Persian food.
I just knew it, because there's not
a lot of Persians or Persian restaurants in the Bay Area.
And so I thought, I think I'll try fesenjoon,
which is pomegranate and walnut stew usually made
with either turkey or chicken or sometimes, duck.
And I did a vegan version of it.
The ingredients are magical.
That combination of the bitter walnuts and the tart and sweet
pomegranate, that's all you need.
And it almost doesn't matter if there's meat in it or not,
it's just so good.
So I didn't know how to cook with any Persian ingredients
at that time.
It was a huge process of discovery for me.
And I found some different versions
of recipes for fesenjoon, and I muddled my way through it,
and came up with something.
Everyone tasted it, and said, whoa, what is this?
This is so great.
It's sweet, and it's tart, and its rich, and it's beautiful.
I added some grated red beets to the dish
to make it a beautiful deep red color.
And it went on the menu, and everyone liked it.
And that was really the start of me discovering
this amazing food heritage that I had grown up
with but I'd never been aware of.
JACI BADZIN: So cool.
Do you find that there's an opening within vegan style
food for more Persian cooking?
It feels like it'd be a pretty good fit.
I mean, yes, there's the yogurt, and there's the meat,
but do you think that there is an opportunity
to expand that vegan lifestyle with more
immersion of Persian food in the ingredients?
Do you think there's--
LOUISA SHAFIA: Absolutely.
Persian food is all about the flavors.
And traditionally, meat was used to just boost
the flavor of things.
It never had a starring role.
It's only kind of now that meat is so much
more accessible and cheap that you'll see these huge kabob
fests and super meaty stews.
But traditionally, meat was just a small element,
and you can do these dishes completely without meat.
If you're doing-- there's all these classic stews,
like fesenjoon, there's bademjoon,
which is eggplant and tomato stew.
There's ghormeh sabzi, which is herbs.
It's all green herbs.
When it's finished it's this beautiful vibrant green color.
And it's really flavored with something
called dried limes, which is a very particular Persian
And it's kind of like lime times 12,
because you cook with the whole lime.
JACI BADZIN: I read that in your book,
and was like, what is this dried lime?
I want to try it.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Oh, they're so good.
They're super sweet and kind of bitter at the same time.
But it's all about those flavors so you really
don't need the meat.
And in my cookbook, I try and give vegetarian or even
a vegan version of all of the meat dishes,
because the whole point is to make
use of the fruits and vegetables.
And here, I want to point out that Iran always
had an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables
and herbs, very much unlike a lot
of other parts of the Middle East.
But Iran has a temperate climate.
It has four seasons.
It's surrounded by two mountain ranges that
are covered with snow throughout the whole year, which
most people, I'm sure, think of Iran as a big desert.
But it's not.
There's marshy areas and meadows and mountain ranges
and very, very diverse geography.
But the ancient Iranians figured out
a way to bring the melted snow water from the mountains
into vast desert areas and have these lush gardens growing
in the desert.
JACI BADZIN: And the irrigation systems
are something that's known historically,
that they've been able to develop
these amazing lush gardens and it's
depicted in books and stories and movies,
and it's really fascinating.
And I feel like that comes across in your book really
well through your writings, but also through the imagery
and through your emphasis on herbs and on produce.
And even taking the different-- like the limes,
which were fantastic.
There's a bit about the caramelized onions
too that it just-- it's so interesting how
you take fresh ingredients, and you can just
build and build and build these really amazing dishes.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Yes, and thank you
for bringing up the caramelized onions.
Caramelized onions is something you
see in many, many Persian dishes.
It's often used as a topping for things,
and that is a great way to bring a foundation of really
deep, rich flavor into a dish, even if it doesn't have meat.
So if you're trying to make these dishes vegetarian,
take the time to make some really nice,
slowly cooked caramelized onions.
They will fill in for the flavor of meat
and really round out a dish in a very powerful way.
It takes a little time.
They can take about an hour to really do it the right way.
You start on high heat with your thinly sliced onions,
then reduce the heat and just let them cook down
and cook down until they're really dark and just
a fraction of their size.
And they're sweet and rich and smokey.
Everything you want.
JACI BADZIN: So good.
Do we have caramelized onions today in the cafe?
I hope we do
LOUISA SHAFIA: I hope we do after that description.
So talking, again, there's these amazing traditional ingredients
and your culinary interest and personal interest in vegan
food, the recipes in this book are
really-- they are a mix of traditional and innovative.
And can you tell us a bit about how you created the recipes
in this book, and how this collection came together?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Sure.
Well, it was kind of a process of discovery.
I had originally wanted to go research this cookbook in Iran,
but I wasn't able to get the documentation to go,
and I was very sad about that.
And then a friend of mine said, why don't you
just go to Los Angeles?
And if you don't know, Los Angeles
has the biggest Iranian population outside of Iran.
And a lot of my extended Iranian family is out there.
I have at least 20 family members out there.
And I thought, that's a great idea,
because I won't have to wear a chador and cover my head,
and I'll be able to get around.
And I speak the language, English.
So I went out there and kind of in my honor of being out there,
we had all these amazing family feasts.
It was so cool.
These all day feasts.
You get there at 12:00 or 1:00 on a Sunday,
and you leave at maybe 9:00 or 10:00.
You've had about three rounds of food,
and you're just feeling super happy and tons of black tea
in between every meal.
And from that, I got to see the favorite dishes that everybody
made, sholeh zard, the sweet rice pudding with saffron rice,
with dates, adas polo, all these different dishes.
So I got to see the ones my family members really
loved and I got to taste those.
And I thought, OK, I really like this one.
I like that one.
I'm going to try my own recipe for this.
And then my relatives took the time
to get in the kitchen with me.
So I would come over for these intense all day
cooking sessions with my cousins,
and they showed me really step-by-step
how they made some of their favorite dishes
like rice with fava beans and dill, which is just
a beautiful dish for any time that stuff is in season.
And so I really learned that way.
And then being there, I was able to shop
at all these Persian grocery stores because I
had all the ingredients on hand like I had never
had in New York.
So I could get rose petals, I could get date syrup,
dried limes, barberries, anything I needed
and just play around and experiment in my kitchen.
And so through that process I kind of chose
some of those classic dishes from the Persian cannon.
They kind of have a cannon of classic rice dishes,
classic stews, classic desserts.
So I took some of those and then I just
created some that were inspired by-- like there's
a chicken dish in the book.
It's turmeric chicken with sumac and line.
And I really wanted to have--
JACI BADZIN: It's featured today.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Yes, is on today's menu.
JACI BADZIN: It looks so good.
LOUISA SHAFIA: I can't wait to taste their version of it.
But I wanted to make a dish that encapsulated
all the flavors of Persian cooking
but didn't take several hours and only used
a handful of ingredients.
So you just season the chicken thighs or ***
with a little bit of turmeric and salt, sear them in a pan,
then add some water and garlic and let
it braise for 25 minutes.
Take it out, season with some lime juice
and some sumac powder, so you've got a lot of tartness in there.
You've got saltiness, you've got richness from the chicken.
And it's really well-rounded and full so it
tastes like you were cooking all day,
but it's kind of for an Americans
modern tolerance of how much time you
want to spend in the kitchen.
JACI BADZIN: It's really-- one of the other things I loved
about this book is that it's a book that's-- it so useful.
It so just connects immediately.
There's so many recipes in there that you
could make in a tiny kitchen in Manhattan.
You can also make in a huge kitchen in LA,
and it's so approachable that I just kept flipping through
and I was like, I want to make this dish.
No, I want to make this dish.
It's really vibrant and really amazing.
And the ingredients that you talk about too
are so vast, fantastic, but possibly not the most--
some of the ingredients, what I thought was interesting,
is that they may not be found in the form in the book
of the recipes, but you give instructions
on how to make them or even sometimes
substitutions, which I thought was a really helpful.
If you had to suggest a few key ingredients to have
in your house to cook from your book or to cook Persian food,
what would they be?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Oh, I love that question.
Turmeric would be one.
Sumac, which is a little purple powder that
comes from the sumac berries, not poison sumac,
just edible sumac.
They look completely different.
Two different plants.
And it sort of serves the purpose of lemon juice,
but you don't need to have a fresh lemon around.
It's tart and kind of salty and actually very high
in vitamin C.
Pomegranate molasses, which is just pomegranate juice cooked
down, again, tart and sweet.
Dried limes, which maybe they're not
that easy to find in a store, but there's a lot of places
you can order them online, and they keep forever.
And I guess, dried mint, which you can throw into any dish
and transform the flavor and make it exotic and eastern
just by adding that at the end.
JACI BADZIN: Interesting, dried mint.
I'm going to add that.
LOUISA SHAFIA: It's spearmint, in particular.
So it's not peppermint, and it's not just general mint,
it's really spearmint that has that real fullness
and that real savory taste.
JACI BADZIN: And the difference too.
I'm glad you clarified that.
Spearmint versus peppermint, that's really interesting.
In your book, it states that according to Persian
tradition foods can either heat your body up or cool it down,
and it's typically advised that you
keep these energies carefully balanced.
So with that in mind, can you recommend a balanced meal
according to Persian tradition?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Sure.
So a classic balanced meal is actually
a kabob platter, which is your kabobs, which
are hot by nature.
Meat is hot.
You have your rice, which can be studded with anything from nuts
to dried fruit to meat to fresh herbs.
You have grilled tomatoes on there,
and then you're always going to have
sumac sprinkled over the rice, and that is cooling.
And you're always going to have a glass of doogh,
which is a salty mint yogurt soda.
It sounds weird, so delicious.
It's just yogurt with-- I like to make it
with sparkling water.
You could make it with flat.
Put a little bit of dried mint in there, some salt,
a little bit of garlic, and it is so good.
And that is really, really cooling,
and that's why you have it with that meal.
Iranians have a very specific philosophy
about healthy eating that, again, goes back
thousands of years, just like ayurvedic cooking and dietary
And just like traditional Chinese medicine,
Iranians have this theory that goes back,
and you always want to stay balanced.
If you get too much of hot or too much of cold,
you're going to get sick.
JACI BADZIN: Very interesting.
Your first cookbook, as you mentioned,
was focused on eco-friendly food.
This book focuses on your heritage
in more traditional Persian elements.
Will the reader see any similarities between the two
books or is it a pretty different route
from your first book?
LOUISA SHAFIA: There's a lot of common ground between the two.
It's funny, with the first book, I only had, I guess,
a couple of chicken dishes and some fish dishes in there.
It was really true to my vegetarian heritage.
In this book, meat is such of integral part
of Persian cooking.
It's really one of the characteristics
of all these classic Persian stews and rice,
even if it's just a small amount.
So I really wanted to be true to that, so I debated a while.
But I did end up including lamb, which is the meat that you'll
find most often in Iranian cooking, lots of chicken,
a fair amount of fish and seafood dishes,
which they have all different kinds of fish in Iran.
Down by the Persian Gulf, there's one kind.
Up near the Caspian Sea, there's different kinds.
So I did include those, and then, I really
have an emphasis on cooking with whole grains,
finding healthy alternatives to maybe less healthy ways
If you go to a Persian restaurant these days,
you'll often find dishes that are made with a lot of oil.
So I have suggestions for cutting down on oil
and also using healthier cooking oils,
like coconut oil, things like almond oil,
using extra *** olive oil for garnishing at the end.
So you can definitely tell that both books
were written by a health nut.
That's the common ground.
JACI BADZIN: That's great.
What was your favorite discovery of writing this book?
Your second cookbook, so you are familiar.
You've written a book before, but what
was your favorite discovery of this particular journey?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Gosh, I mean there were so many
little particular food things that I discovered, just
like the whole ingredient, dried mint.
I loved discovering that.
But I think the bigger thing for me was the opportunity
to really get to know my Persian family
and get this opportunity to really be immersed
in the culture like I had never been growing up
And I think just really understanding that,
and also understanding that I was part of this sort of bigger
tribe, if you will, and going out to LA
and looking around and seeing that everybody looked like me.
That was an amazing discovery and a completely new feeling.
JACI BADZIN: So cool.
So besides your cookbooks, what is a cookbook
that you would recommend, like a must-have cookbook
that you would recommend for people to have?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Yes.
Just yesterday I was looking at it.
It's called "The Legendary Cuisine of Persia"
by a woman named Margaret Shaida, S-H-A-I-D-A.
She was an English woman who married an Iranian and lived
in Iran for decades.
She's no longer alive, but her book is available,
and it taught me so much.
And it's got all kinds of great stories
about the folk traditions that are behind
a lot of the specific dishes and the role of religion in Iran,
and the role of geography, and how it really
affected how each part of the country
has a very different regional cuisine.
It's really written in a lyrical way.
It's just beautiful, and she put some things--
she's able to express some things about Persian cuisine
and Persian culture in ways that just can't even
be improved upon.
JACI BADZIN: That's good.
Making a note of that one.
So in this digital age, technology
is so ever present, we're at Google.
How do you see technology changing or affecting
the way that you approach traditional foods
or cooking or sharing the information
about this rich history through food?
LOUISA SHAFIA: Well, I feel like now it's so easy with video
to show how you would make a dish that once was believed
very, very complicated.
Like, for example, something like
tadig, which is a traditional part of any Persian meal.
It's the crispy rice on the bottom of a pot,
and it's golden and it's crisp and it
tastes like potato chips and popcorn and fried chicken
all in one.
So if you tried to just describe that in words, it's so subtle,
and there's so many different little tips
that you need to carry out to actually make it successfully.
But with a video, there's so many great instructional
cooking videos out there now, you
can show people exactly how they can do it and learn
how to do it like an expert at home.
JACI BADZIN: Yeah, I definitely--
it's amazing to see how many-- these days, how many people are
learning to cook from videos, and people will
find information online.
I still have my-- I love my cookbooks.
I mean, I will keep them forever,
but it's interesting to see how the two compliment
each other too.
It's like book to video, back to the book,
when you're cooking and moving around.
And there is something that's still
so beautiful about having that book present in your kitchen
as opposed to a laptop or your phone.
You can't really hold your phone and cook at the same time.
So it's really-- I think there's a beauty and essence
in the cookbooks and especially in yours.
The photos are wonderful, and you
can tell it's such a culturally rich book.
It's really amazing.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Thank you.
Just one more thing on that that I want to say.
Is also, with things like Twitter
and just so much sharing online, I
can be talking with people in Iran and getting recipe tips,
and asking them how they do things
and getting an immediate response
and having this dialogue that I really wouldn't have otherwise.
It just makes us so much closer and makes the ability
to share ideas really easy.
JACI BADZIN: And tips, that's really interesting.
I love that idea of like when you're cooking something that's
historically inherited from a different country,
a different land, and using technology
to get instant information about like, oh, I'm making this.
I'm not quite sure.
Does anybody have any recommendations?
And you can.
You can get information just instantaneously
that shifts your entire process.
It's so interesting.
So you have two cookbooks, a catering company,
you're a food writer, what is going to be next for you?
LOUISA SHAFIA: I'm really thinking about it.
I feel like I'd like to bring these flavors to people
in an easier way, so I'm working right now
on getting my papers in order to visit Iran.
And, fingers crossed, that's going to come through soon.
And if I do, and I'm able to actually go to the motherland,
to the source of all this, I think
I'm going to go deeper into this approach to cooking
in this tradition of things that come from the Silk Road.
So I kind of feel like that's where I'm going, but we'll see.
I don't want to jinx anything by saying it to soon.
JACI BADZIN: Silk Road, that's amazing.
I love that thread line through this too, the ingredients
and how you tie that in.
It's really fantastic.
What is on your food bucket list?
JACI BADZIN: Oh, boy.
Well, one thing I really want to do
is after I get deeper into the Iran thing
is I'd love to explore the heritage of my mom's
side, which is Russian, German, and Polish.
And I would love to go to that part of the world
and really immerse myself.
And the interesting thing that I found,
which was really surprising in researching this book,
is how much those two areas have in common.
Because there's been cultural exchange
for thousands of years, whether it be by war
and conquering or just by trade.
But I found pickles and dill and raw onions
and pickled fish, caviar and lots of super sour flavors
all throughout Eastern Europe.
and then, of course, into Iran and the Persianate sphere
So I kind of want to go to that part of the world
and see what all the similarities are.
JACI BADZIN: Very cool.
So we've got a couple more questions left, and we're
going to open it up to the Q&A portion.
So if anybody has questions, please
use the microphones that are in the audience.
So I like to wrap things up with a off the cuff
portion, finish this sentence.
So there's a few questions.
I'm inspired by--
LOUISA SHAFIA: Yotam Ottolenghi, the author-- the co-author
with Sammi Tamimi, the cookbook "Jerusalem."
I love how the two of them have brought
this really exotic flavors to a bigger audience in a really
beautiful, easy to understand way.
And I think they've kind of changed the whole dialogue
about cooking here.
Suddenly, everybody's super into Middle Eastern cooking.
JACI BADZIN: Fantastic.
Three things that are always in my fridge are--
LOUISA SHAFIA: Peanut butter, miso paste, and tamarind pure.
JACI BADZIN: I don't know if those three go together,
but I bet she could make something very interesting
LOUISA SHAFIA: They can.
They all will kick up the flavor of a bowl of ramen.
JACI BADZIN: That's amazing.
I'm going to try that.
When no one is watching, I eat--
LOUISA SHAFIA: A big bowl of soup
that has peanut butter and miso in it
and all different kinds of vegetables like winter squash
and shiitakes and scallions and ginger and carrots.
JACI BADZIN: That sounds really good.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Had it this morning.
JACI BADZIN: If I weren't a chef, I would be--
LOUISA SHAFIA: I guess, I would be a full-time writer.
JACI BADZIN: I can see you on your way to that.
LOUISA SHAFIA: An academician.
I should be more exact.
I guess, I would delve deeply into food history and really
the theories and the foundations of everything.
JACI BADZIN: Very interesting.
When Jaci comes to my house for dinner, I'm going to make her--
LOUISA SHAFIA: I am going to make her Persian rice
pie, which is rice with a layer of cooked chicken,
roasted chicken, and yogurt and barberries,
and then another layer of rice on top cooked to a crisp
so the top is covered with the golden tadig
and the inside is tender.
And it's comforting, it's rich, it's savory.
JACI BADZIN: I can't wait.
LOUISA SHAFIA: It's special occasion food.
I'm going to make it for you.
JACI BADZIN: Well, thanks so much.
We have a question over here.
First, I want us to say how I'm kind of excited to see this,
because it seemed for years that, at least
in English language, it was kind of legendary cuisine.
Persia was the only cookbook that really was available
that I could find.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Oh, you know about that book?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, totally I know.
It's an awesome cookbook, but I'm excited to see more.
I guess, when I think of Iran, the first thing that
comes to other people's minds is saffron.
They produce one of the world's best saffron
and I was kind of actually surprised you can
apparently what claims to be Iranian saffron here
in the US, which I wouldn't have thought was legal.
But where do you think-- where should I
go to get really the best saffron that I can find?
Do1 you mean here in New York or just in general?
Here in New York.
Let's try that.
JACI BADZIN: Let's start here in New York.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Well, here in New York,
I usually go to Kalustyan's.
AUDIENCE: Yeah, that's where I would go.
JACI BADZIN: It's amazing.
LOUISA SHAFIA: But, you know, you could also-- does Penzeys
still have a store in New York?
Penzeys, the mail-order spice company, did they close?
Oh, that's too bad, because they have such high quality
ingredients, even things like sumac or saffron.
I would go to them first because they're really fresh
and they know their sources.
AUDIENCE: So I guess there's no secret places
like in the Iranian community where they like--
LOUISA SHAFIA: Well, now that you've asked.
You could go out to Great Neck, Long Island,
where there's a big community of Persian-Jews,
and there's grocery stores and there's restaurants.
So you might, if you paid off the right person,
be able to get some real authentic Iranian saffron.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
JACI BADZIN: Nice.
Well, thank you so much for coming in.
This is so fantastic to get to have you here and talk
about this beautiful book.
LOUISA SHAFIA: Thanks Jaci.