Nima is from Shiraz, the third biggest city in Iran. He has now lived in the Netherlands for almost two years. He likes to live here and is even learning the Dutch language. We ask him about what distinguishes the Iranian food and culture from other food cultures.
Nima tells us that the use of various vegetables and spices is an important part of the Iranian food culture. “Iranians use unique flavour combinations and a lot of different aromatic herbs and spices. But love is the most important spice in cooking Iranian food. In Iran we believe that food should be made with love, patience and joy.” Besides love, the main ingredients used in Iranian dishes are rice, tomatoes, turmeric, garlic and onions.
“Love is the most important spice in Iranian food. In Iran we believe that food should be made with love, patience and joy. ”
Furthermore, we ask Nima how Iran differs most from the Netherlands in terms of eating habits, he tells us that the eating hours in Iran are different from here. “We have dinner at 9 o'clock. Sometimes we even go out for dinner at 10 o'clock at night.” Besides, he tells us that in Iran, in contrast to Dutch meals, both lunch and dinner consist of cooked food most of the time.
When we ask Nima what he misses the most about Iran, he replies that he often misses 'eating together', especially with family. Nima explains that in Iran they always eat together. “In Iran we say that eating together makes the food tastier” Originally, the traditional Iranian meal was eaten on the floor. A large tablecloth was spread on the floor and the eaters gathered around the meal in the centre. Iranians also mainly ate with hands. However, to Nima's disappointment, you do not see both habits that often anymore, due to modernization of Iran.
“In Iran we say that eating together makes the food tastier”
Finally, Nima tells us that something typical for the Iranian food culture is the amount of time spent cooking. “We often prepare the food together. Sometimes, four or five people work together in one kitchen. In other countries, many people don’t like to be in the kitchen for so long because they are too busy. But in my opinion, you have to be patient to eat a real delicious meal,” Nima explains.