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New Food of Life: Ancient Persian & Modern Iranian Cooking & Ceremonies

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Presents 240 classical and regional Iranian recipes. This book describes ancient and modern ceremonies, poetry, folk tales, travelogue excerpts, and anecdotes. It helps you learn how to cook rice, the jewel of Persian cooking, simply yet deliciously.
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published January 21st 2004 by Mage Publishers (first published 1986)
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Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm editing this review to warn you that for the most part, the recipes are extremely time-consuming. Sadly, for me, there's often a huge dread factor. I get exhausted. So if you don't have all the time and energy, as well as all of the complicated ingredients, this book, gorgeous as it is, may not be for you.
It may be odd to review a cookbook, but whenever I do, trust me, I pretty much read the entire book cover-to-cover. If you want to make Persian food, this is the cookbook to get. I’m P
da AL
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.

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 o
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: persian
My boyfriend is from Tehran, Iran, and in an effort to learn more about his culture, I've read tons of books, but let's face it--one of the best (and most delicious!) ways to learn about a culture is to experience its foods.

I really appreciate how many photographs are included in the book, which gives a Persian cooking novice like me an idea of what the finished product will look like. Not all the ingredients are easily accessible, but the author also gives you an idea of what some of the less f
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-cooking
I absolutely love this cookbook. It is as beautiful and educational as it is functional.
I saw this book on the list of my friend and having a thought, why not give this book a try? Afterall, I love to eat Persian food once in a while. What a heavenly cuisine!

With the help of this book, I decided to cook it myself. Being in Malaysia, looking for those ingredients posed not much trouble, spice-wise. Some ingredients for winter dishes could be found at baking supplies wholesalers, in canned or bottled version. Specific fresh produce could be bought at premium supermarkets.

Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on Persian cooking that I've found out there. It's sort of like a Persian "Joy of Cooking." Of course, I've only made a fraction of the recipes, but that's probably because the recipes I've used have been so good I want to make them over again. And over again.

There's lots of Persian poetry and artwork throughout the book, and one section I really like is at the end, on Nowruz (Persian New Year): how it's celebrated, and how to make a good Haft Seen table (seven items that a
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have researched this, and this book is by far the BEST book about Persian food known to the Western World. The beauty of this book is that it has tons of recipes, and includes fabulous colorful artwork from the region, along with detailed explanations and pictures of all the Persian customs. I read this often.
Peggah Ghoreishi
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: persian, nonfiction
The iconic Persian Cookbook Bible. Almost every Iranian household in America has this cookbook.
Interspersed between recipes are Persian art, poetry, and anecdotes. One of my favorite Sepehri lines "I asked him, 'How much an ounce for a happy heart?'" is featured on a page with watermelon, cheese and lavash.

There are so many recipes, iconic (yogurt) to exotic (Sabzi polow) to questionable (brain patties). Going through this book without a proper kitchen or ingredients is a huge mistake if you hav
Feb 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: petprojects
If you're looking to enliven a geographically uninterested palate, seek out this text. Batmanglij's experience with Persian cooking proves that the Middle East and Central Asia has far more to offer than the usual rice and kebab. The foodways presented here demonstrate a culture lost to most Western palates since industrialization and the mass production of food. Elements reminiscent of the high Victorian period abound with the use of herbs most cooks have never heard of let alone can recognize ...more
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Barberry Rice: 4 stars, finicky recipe but turned out delicious!
Pomegranate Cucumber Salad: 5 stars, easy and delicious
Pistachio Soup: 5 stars, easy and delicious
yogurt with shallot dip: 4 stars, easy, but required a long time for soaking shallots.
Dee Kuijer-Watts
I had the first edition and now have the latest. As a vegan there's some substitution involved, but it's fairly easy. This culturally enriched cookbook has become a coffee table staple in my home. ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Najmieh Batmanglij, the "guru of Persian cuisine," wrote the first edition of Food of Life back in 1986 as a way for her to pass down Persian cooking (and culture) to her sons. More than twenty-five years later, "Food of Life" is still going strong and has been given a beautiful update. This anniversary edition includes 330 classical and regional Iranian recipes as well as an introduction to Persian art, history, and culture, new recipes adapted from sixteenth-century Persian cookbooks, added ve ...more
Fatemah  Alhusayni
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
As a kid I spent lots of summers in Iran and I have really good memories of my time there, including the delicious food. I consider the Persian cuisine to be one of the top cuisines in the world and I was looking for good recipes that will allow me to recreate those delicious iranian dishes at home. I found this book on amazon and I did not look any further. I have tried a few of the recipes ( there are lots) and they all turned out good. I've tried Sholeh zard ( saffron pudding), Paludeh-ye shi ...more
Many of us know Iran from what we see in the news and it's not always a positive depiction of the country. This book will give you greater insight into a very ancient culture. The author makes Persian cuisine accessible to cooks in other parts of the world. I haven't made any Persian dishes before, but after reading this cookbook, I feel confident that I can pull off several dishes that caught my eye. There are gorgeous photographs of the recipes. I appreciate that for I liked to know ahead of ...more
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Here it is, my favorite and most used cookbook. Every recipe I've tried from this (bar one, the quince khoresh) has been delicious, and many grace my table regularly now. The Adas polow, albalu polow and khoresh karafs are some of my favorite dishes to cook and to eat and I learned them from this book. I make kuku sabzi for breakfast regularly.

The instructions are very detailed and well explained and, once you get a feel for it, many dishes can be prepared relatively quickly too. I credit Ms Ba
Nicki Tarr
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really love this book, my best friend/roomate is Persian and loves the food but doesn't know how to cook it. Luckily, I love to cook and learn new dishes, this book gives great detail and information. I love the newest edition because of the step-by-step pictures when cooking Chelo (persian rice)perfectly. It's quite the talent to have. ...more
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Bought this for some of the amazing rice recipes, but there are more excellent recipes within! How I miss my favorite Kebab house in MD. My only concern now is trying to find the unusual ingredients while living here in TX!
Nov 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
I was introduced to Persian food through my half-Iranian friend. She then bought me this cookbook which is now one of my greatest treasures. This book is stunning and beautiful. Not only are there recipes but festival descriptions and snippets of Persian culture. Fantastic.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My favorite cook book - some of the recipes are hard to tackle but it's the most comprehensive Persian cookbook out there. Great info on Persian culture and ceremonies too! ...more
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
Food is absolutely delicious and visually stunning! Personal favorites: peach stew with chicken, yogurt dip with nuts & herbs, walnut cheese dip, and saffron rice.
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2008 marked it as to-give-to-others
My Persian friend showed this book to me & my Persian boyfriend at dinner the other night and he freaked. Hopefully if I buy it for him, he'll cook for me! ...more
May 16, 2009 added it
Shelves: cookbooks
New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij (1997)
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must-have for those who appreciate cooking from this part of the world. The recipes are easy, the photographs are wonderful, and the food is YUMMY!
Aug 19, 2012 marked it as to-read

I use this book weekly. The book has iranian traditions and myths written into each section. By far the best Juje kebob recipe ever. Makes a wonderful wedding present.
Sara Collins
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
Best Persian cookbook in the market. Every recipe I have tried from this cookbook turned out wonderfully!
Beth Lequeuvre
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
So many amazing rice recipes! Lots of different things that sound lovely but pretty much every recipe has at least one ingredient that would be hard to find outside a specialty grocery store.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mmm. Food.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having this book is almost as good as having my mum. That's extremely high praise. ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yeah you need this cookbook.
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Najmieh Batmanglij, hailed as “the guru of Persian cuisine” by The Washington Post, has spent the past 30 years cooking, traveling, and adapting authentic Persian recipes to tastes and techniques in the West. Her cookbook New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, was called “The definitive book of Persian cooking” by the Los Angeles Times; her Silk Road Cooking: ...more

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