“New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies,” by Najmieh Batmanglij: my review (by da-AL)

It’s the start of Spring and with it Persian New Year, the time of year that is among the happiest everywhere in the world. A time brilliant with hope, promise, and gratitude for overcoming the year behind us. Yeah! We have survived! All people can peacefully celebrate!

“New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies,” by Najmieh Batmanglij


“New Food of Life,” by Najimieh Batmanglij
celebrates the past that brought about her marvelous food. Her book promises to keep Iran’s most sensual art alive. She packs in love in all of its forms. Within these pages lie poetry, tapestry, childhood memories, and practical advice on how to make these recipes your own.

Persian 'tadig,' crunchy rice.
Persian ‘tadig,’ crunchy rice.
Persian 'miniature' style painting of picnickers.
Persian ‘miniature’ style painting of picnickers.

Colorful ‘miniature’ style paintings and lyrical poetry are interspersed among photos vivid enough to make me feel the aromatic steam on my nostrils as I experience crunchy rice (tadig), mountains of grains, pots of stews, platters of desserts, with all manner of drinks, staples including pickle and yogurt making instructions, and mixes for seasonings.

Platter of fresh herbs, feta, and nuts.
Platter of fresh herbs, feta, and nuts.

Without my husband, I might never have tasted simple elegance at its most sublime. Here Batmanglij features a splendid heap of fresh herbs that can include mint, fennel, parsley, watercress, and sweet basil. Alongside it, real feta cheese (not the miserly crumbled sort), and nuts soaked in brine.

Persian 'Lubia Polo' green bean stew with rice.
Persian ‘Lubia Polo’ green bean stew with rice.

Tea gets its own chapter — marvelous Persian tea that’s best appreciated by eyes and nose from clear glasses that highlight color and scent.

Persian sweet fritters.
Persian sweet fritters.

Batmanglij accomplishes much in this singular book! There’s illustrated explanations of holidays and traditions.

Persian poetry and painting.
Persian poetry and painting.

Even a list of her mother’s interpretation of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ foods — hot and cold, not to be confused with the dictionary definition of these words. In this case, they’re more akin to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine interpretations of how they affect the body, not merely the taste buds.

This book is for anyone who loves globetrotting via food and anyone who loves a Persian.

Batmanglij has other cookbooks for all ages.

Guest Blog Post: “Authors Stop Selling Short,” in Jeyran Main’s exact words

green-eyed cat in box
Photo courtesy of Ryan McGruire/Gratisography.com

Read on for blogger Jeyran’s great advice to us at da-AL’s blog that she’s culled reviewing books, editing them, promoting them, and translating them. Her website is Review Tales

Today, I wish to talk about something that has been bothering me for a while. Time and time again I notice that books are being sold for as cheap as 99 cents. I am not talking about the used or unwanted books you sometimes see at the entrance of libraries. I am discussing about the ones that are being sold online, brand new and in various formats.

Why would an author sell years of his hard work, hours on end sitting, pondering, late night struggling while going over his written work, and  paying thousands of dollars to have it edited only to then sell it for 99 cents?

Do we have such an abundance of books out there that their work is only worth 99 cents after everything they go through to publish it? If yes, why bother?

Are they playing the number game? Assuming they will sell in millions and so 99 cents will still make them a profit?

Are they just doing all this for fun? They don’t anticipate any sales and so they do not care what the outcome is after it is published?

If you value and deem all this hard work to be worth only 99 cents, why would anyone else value it any higher?

In fact, if you dig deeper into the psychological influence you make in having a potential reader ponder over buying your 99-cent book or someone else’s 10-dollar book, you will notice that the buyer will pick the 10 dollar one.

This is because they unconsciously believe that if they buy a book that is 10 dollars then it must have something more to offer than a 99-cent book.

It is like the catch and chase theory. If you offer something for free, then it is not that appealing. If you make it a challenge, then everyone will be interested and will want to know what all the fuss is about.

People don’t buy a book because it is cheap, they buy it because it sounds good, the reviews are good, and the cover is appealing. So in my opinion, you are selling short on everything you sacrificed in producing. Why should you not enjoy having the satisfaction of expressing your thoughts in your book and also enjoy the exposure of it along side the financial security of which it brings?

Next time you wish to give away something for free, please consider, it maybe worth more than that.

Written by Jeyran Main. She is a blogger, consumer reviewer, book editor, book promoter and a freelance book translator. Her website Review Tales demonstrates her thoughts, reflections and works.

Guest Blog Post: “What is Happiness?” in Catherine Townsend-Lyon’s exact words

Happiness is different for everyone. Blogger Catherine Townsend-Lyon tells us here at da-AL’s how she defines it…

Author/Columnist Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author/Columnist Catherine Townsend-Lyon

A simple question?

What is Happiness?

What does it mean to you?

The meaning listed in the dictionary is – hap·pi·ness: noun, “the state of being happy.”  she struggled to find happiness in her life. “synonyms: pleasure,
contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness, well-being, enjoyment  .  .  .

Miss Princess one of my three cat’s.
Miss Princess is one of my three cats.

Everyone’s “Happiness” comes from many places and things. I know my new blog friend Daal receives much happiness from her doggies, just as I get much happiness from my three Cat’s named Simon Peter, Miss Prissy Princess, and Mr. Boots. Having animals love and affection make many people happy. There are many things I do each day in my life that I draw much happiness, as it seems I have become a multi-faceted person. I live life in recovery from gambling and alcohol addictions living with mental health challenges, and I advocate proudly on my Recovery Blog, but that is another post for another day. So, my kitties bring me much joy and purpose taking care of them.

Cover of Catherine Townsend-Lyon's book
Cover of Catherine Townsend-Lyon’s book

Besides being of recovery service to others, I am also a freelance recovery article writer, a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine” and published author. Happiness for me is also reading good books and helping new authors learn how and where to promote their books on my blog called; “Cat Lyon’s Reading Den.”  I have a “pay it forward” blog page where authors can visit and learn what you need to do to effectively promote your books throughout social media and it is FREE.

Helping others is what I enjoy doing and is a passion of mine. I have learned in my recovery journey and life that helping people along the way is not a hard thing to do because I “Walk by FAITH, not by SIGHT.”

And THAT my friends, is what happiness to me!

Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the bestselling TKG author of her memoir “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” She is a freelance recovery writer and columnist for “In Recovery Magazine” and writes for several addiction/recovery publications, “Keys to Recovery” and is an expert recovery blogger of gambling addiction recovery for Addictionland.com. She was a contributor to a major media article published by Time.com and Nautilus.us magazines titled; “Addiction to Anticipation: what goes wrong in the brain chemistry of a gambling addict,” By Maia Szalavitz, a journalist for Time.com.

She writes a blog about gambling addiction and recovery called; ” Recovery Starts Here: A Sober and Bet Free Blog” An avid advocate, Catherine lives in Glendale, Arizona via So. Oregon with her husband of 27 years and three cats. She is currently working on her next two books due late 2017.

A Question for Everyone by da-AL

rsz_q_tightHi dear readers,

In the interest of ensuring the greatest reading pleasure here, please comment below on what type of device you read these posts on (i.e., laptop, iPad, smartphone, iPhone, iMac, PC, etc.).

While you’re at it, do these blog posts load up easily for you?

Thank you!

da AL

Oops! Ugh! A Facebook lesson by da-AL

ooops- close cropKind friends, followers, and visitors:

Only now learned  that each time one thanks others for commenting on their Facebook profile picture, Facebook re-sends the profile photo to everyone’s news feeds as ‘an update.’

Ugh!

Wishing each of you a healthy happy day!

da AL

Guest Blog Post: “2017 Kindness Challenge Sign-up!” by G. Jeffries

Reblogging to here at da-AL’s this wonderful challenge from FictionisFood.WordPress.com

Sign-up is open for the 2nd annual Kindness Challenge! Click on the photo to be redirected to the sign-up page! Last year we had over 80 participate and focus on kindness for 7 weeks. Source: 2017 …

Source: 2017 Kindness Challenge Sign-up!

I’ve been tagged! this or that Book Tag by da-AL

this or that Book Tag logo

What fun! Shaymâ, an evocative poet who writes the blog, Shaymâ Deep Thoughts, Spilt Ink.., nominated me for “this or that Book Tag,” created by Ayunda at Tea & Paperbacks. Check out their lovely sites!

Thank you, Shaymâ and Ayunda!

4 Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag.
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you!
  • Answer 10 questions.
  • Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

10 Questions

  1. Reading on the couch or in the bed? More like anywhere and everywhere! As a writer, if I have time to sit, I feel like I should be writing. At the same time, books are my lifeblood. The answer? I listen to audio books a lot. Driving, and via a boom box that I plug and unplug from one room to another. When I’m brushing my teeth, sweeping the floor, or chopping veggies, my essential little player is either on ‘play’ or ‘pause.’ Even when I’m working out to an exercise CD that I’ve already listened to!
  2. Main male character, or main female character? For a great story, who cares? For anything lesser, probably a main female character is more interesting to me. Partly because I can relate, and partly because already the odds seem to be stacked higher against women.
  3. Sweet snacks or salty snacks? Bitter or sweet, nutty, fruity or plain, chocolate!
  4. Trilogies or quartets? In the style of Isabel Allende’s books, I like when they’re ok as stand-alones, but can fit together too.
  5. POV: 1st person or 3rd person? Without consciously selecting them that way, most of what I read is in First Person.
  6. Reading at night or morning? With breakfast, driving, lunch, making dinner. Meaning all day, not at night.
  7. Libraries or bookstores? Both are among the very best places in the world!!!
  8. Books that make you laugh or that make you cry? Both! Somewhere I read a quote that the best stories make one laugh and cry, and have agreed ever since. Wish I knew who coined such a great concept!
  9. Book cover: black or white? Colorful is my fave. If black or white are my only choices, then white, so the black lettering of the title stands out.
  10. Character-driven or plot-driven? My fave stores are a combination of both. Strong interesting characters amid a story with an arc and tension. Fine writing can make anything come to life. I love anything that’s not formulaic, that leaves me feeling better for having read it, in that I either know more or can empathize better.

this or that Book Tag logo

10 Nominees

  1. At AncientEgypt2016, teacher Sajda Afifi is a European woman living in Egypt. She writes candidly about her views, as well as about Egyptian food, history, and teaching.
  2. OfficiallyThyda is an inspiring young woman who describes what its like to be recovering from a coma.
  3. LittleDogLaughed takes the best dog photos! My fave, no surprise, given that he looks like my furry loves, is of Steve.
  4. ShashaSelfLove keeps me thinking optimistically.
  5. BreathMath’s Ashoora Arif helps me in an area that I need a lot of help in.
  6. MusikKenya teaches me all about Kenyan music.
  7. Marije, De Gans in both English and Dutch, encourages me to, “Live a beautiful life in a beautiful world,” “Leef een mooi leven in een mooie wereld.”
  8. Jean-Noel’s photographs of people, architecture, and graffiti are lush.
  9. An author from England Suzanne Rogers shares insights into the writing life, along with sharing about her hobbies.
  10. Norah Colvin writes fiction and poetry, plus she discusses her teaching experience.