• my Persian emersion,  party party

    Persian Breakfast


    One of my favorite things that Payam has introduced me to is Persian Breakfast. We eat it all the time. Sometimes even for dinner, which is awesome because it is quite easy to make if you have all the necessary ingredients on hand. But it’s kind of like having enough ice cream to go with your cake in that if you are missing one ingredient, it throws the whole ratio off.

    Most importantly you have to have bread, cheese, grapes, walnuts and sabsi. Everything else is extra. Sabsi roughly translates to greens and it usually includes Thai basil (my favorite), chives (not my favorite because of stinky breath) and mint. Extras can include any other fruit, tea of course, coffee (for me) and any other type of sweet you might like to throw in.


    Isn’t this teapot beautiful? I borrowed it from Joon. Her mother brought it over from Iran for her and we keep it in her closet to keep it safe. She let’s me use it for special occasions. The glass tea cups are traditional tea cups.

    Persians are very interesting in the way they drink tea. They put a large piece of sugar (like that yellow saffron sugar you see above) in their mouth and then sip the hot tea around it. I’m not a fan because I like my tea strong without sugar but it’s kind of cool to watch them do it.

    The rest of the table is set with a basket of hot (freshly toasted) Arabic bread covered in a towel and then a plate with feta cheese, walnuts, grapes and sabsi in the middle.


    The way you eat Persian breakfast is you take a piece of bread and smash some feta cheese onto half of it with a fork. Then you place grapes and walnuts onto the cheese and top that with sabsi. You can put strawberries or candied kumquats on your cheese too instead of grapes, it really doesn’t matter as long as you have a nice balance of sweet to go with your salty, creamy cheese. Then you fold your bread in half and eat it like a taco. It’s delicious!


    A few of my friends have been having Thursday morning get-togethers at each other’s houses because the local tea and coffee shops near us suck. After spending half an hour trying to find an open table big enough for all of us at Starbucks (which ended up being a tall table, two tall chairs and two low chairs and being in the way for everyone passing through) and spending the other morning waiting forever for them to get our various orders right, we decided that we could do a better job having tea and coffee at our own houses! It worked out brilliantly!

    We had English Breakfast with fancy tea and crumpets at my travel agent friend’s house and so I decided to serve Persian tea and breakfast at my house!

    Don’t be mislead by my friend having her nose down to her phone. She wasn’t bored of us, she was just fielding emails from her busy job. We’re all pretty lucky that we can work from home but that also means taking our jobs with us when we have leisurely breakfasts during the work day.


    A new special treat that I brought to our breakfast are these almond cookies. I can’t find a link to them anywhere and when you buy them from the local bakery they don’t really have a name for them either. They are like florentines but they are very lightly sweet, not your usual heavy caramel or dipped in chocolate. They remind me of a delicate granola. In fact. I put some in a bowl and poured milk on them and they tasted like the best granola cereal ever.


    Decorating for a special breakfast is half the fun. I don’t do this every day but when friends are coming over it’s nice. Payam’s brother brought us these decorative lace table coverings from Beirut when he was working over there. They are perfect for dressing up a table that might have a million scratches on it from all the various crafts I do.

    The dangly star candle isn’t middle eastern at all but I like it because it’s cozy and sparkly.

    And that’s pretty much it! If you are ever in the neighborhood please stop by and request a Persian breakfast! It’s the best!


  • out out out of the house!,  Tis the Season

    Strawberries Bring the Magic


    I’ve come to realize in my ripe old age that I am the bringer of magic. It’s my big responsibility as *the aging matriarch* of the family. Do I sprinkle fairy dust on cardboard and it magically turns into castles? Well, sometimes but I’m more referring to the normal things like family dinners, seasonal traditions, candles and decorations and taking the family out and about to events and things that generally make good memories. It’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.

    If it wasn’t for me we would all sit around on a Saturday doing nothing! Yes, sitting around in our pajamas wasting our lives away playing games on our phones until finally at about three in the afternoon when our stomachs would revolt in hunger and we would make easy-mac and then lounge the rest of the day on the couch still playing games on our phones. Pathetic really.

    It is now my job to prevent that.


    One of my favorite outings that prevents the pickeledge of brain via phone is to visit the farm near our house.  We had to boycott the farm during pumpkin season ever since Hello Kitty decided to make an appearance and our neighborhood turned into mayhem and chaos.

    It was bad. Traffic for days and we couldn’t even walk to the farm because you had to make a reservation for your parking spot and if you didn’t make a reservation you couldn’t get in. So no fun walks to the farm and no Hello-Kitty-Goes-to-the-Farm swag for us.


    But not anymore! The Hello Kitty craze has died down a little and the farm is back open for regular neighborly people like us! It’s not cheap though. They get you coming and going for tour tickets and Hello Kitty t-shirts and bags. I know I should have said no to the kids when they wanted shirts but I was a kid once too and I loooooooooooved Hello Kitty! Hello Kitty was our Pusheen! Remember those days?


    Anyway, the kids loved the farm. We ate strawberries until we thought we would burst  and we almost forgot about using our phones. But that might be more because we are all on a new data management DIET lately BECAUSE THE KIDS HAVE USED IT ALL UP!!!  Yep. Between the two of them they used fifty percent of our plan up in ONE WEEK. So yeah, that’s gotta change. Three cheers for strawberry farms!

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay