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Pomegranate Soup (2005)

af Marsha Mehran

Serier: Pomegranate Soup (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
6652825,723 (3.46)59
Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland looks like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of “crazed sheep and dizzying roads,” they might finally find a home. From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron float through the streets–an exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Café, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh’s uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied–and by foreigners, no less. But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her red lentil soup, abgusht stew, and rosewater baklava–and with the transformation in her sisters. Young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems to be less nervous. And in the stand-up-comedian-turned-priest Father Fergal Mahoney, the gentle, lonely widow Estelle Delmonico, and the headstrong hairdresser Fiona Athey, the sisters find a merry band of supporters against the close-minded opposition of less welcoming villagers stuck in their ways. But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left behind in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present. Infused with the textures and scents, trials and triumph,s of two distinct cultures, Pomegranate Soup is an infectious novel of magical realism. This richly detailed story, highlighted with delicious recipes, is a delectable journey into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living.… (mere)
  1. 00
    Operation ørneflugt af Ken Follett (sneuper)
    sneuper: Books about escaping Iran before and during the revolution of 1979-1979. Although very different in approach (thriller vs. romance), the setting is the same.
  2. 00
    Whirlwind af James Clavell (sneuper)
    sneuper: Books about escaping Iran before and during the revolution of 1979-1979. Although very different in approach (thriller vs. romance), the setting is the same.
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The selection at Cook the Books club for February/March is Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran.
Three sisters from Iran end up in County Mayo, Ireland, hoping for a better life. The Aminpour sisters open a cafe and cook the delectable dishes from their homeland. It’s a small Irish village and while some of the townsfolk want to try a more exotic cuisine, there are those who shun the women and cafe simply because they are from Iran. You could substitute any middle eastern family trying to run a cafe in any small town, in Ireland or the U.S. for this plot.

The setting for this book was Ireland and Iran. The plot plays out predictably with the women and their Irish neighbors, the cultural differences accepted. Well, by most people. Definitely a foodie book with over a dozen recipes included throughout.

There were so many interesting dishes served up in this book but the recipe for lentil soup grabbed me right away. I had been wanting to make red lentil soup for a long time.

Photos & recipes on my blog. ( )
  SquirrelHead | Mar 10, 2020 |
A great summer read or bookclub book. Lots of yummy sounding recepies. Story of three Iranian sisters making a new life for themselves in Ireland and the effects their magical food has on the town. If I ever get around to creating a *books to read if you've had a crummy week/month/year* shelf, this will be on it! ( )
  Jandrew74 | May 26, 2019 |
This is a lovely book, showing not just the dark side of life as an Iranian refugee in Ireland, but the warmer, richer sides as well. It may make the reader hungry, reading about so much luscious food, but there are recipes mixed in with the story, including a few I plan to try this week. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran is an infectious, witty, humane story of magic realism. Set in a quaint Irish village called Ballinacroagh, it revolves around three sisters who have escaped the revolution in Iran - Bahar, Layla, and Marjan. Haunted by a violent past, the three foreigners treat Ballinacroagh as the refuge they long for in their life - with a restaurant called Babylon cafe that serves exotic Persian food.

There is nothing thought-provoking about Pomegranate Soup. The writing is fluid, and moves the narrative without taxing your brain. The characters are all clear set - the good, the bad, and the ugly are told to you almost from the beginning. You know the ending of the book even as you begin reading the book. Yet, I liked Pomegranate Soup. It left a pleasant taste on a Sunday evening - the feeling of having spent a few hours lost in another world, yet not feeling like you have lost those hours. It is a delectable journey into Persian cooking, Irish living, and small-town sentiments and traditions.

Critics have pointed out the novel's astounding similarity to Chocolat. I haven't read that book, although I did see the movie but I can imagine how it might be similar. In both, the foreigners are treated with suspicion by the locals in a small town, and the magic of food, heady aromas and kindness of common people contrives to create an entirely pleasant effect. I cannot justify the criticism completely having not read Chocolat, but aye, let me be shameless here - if it was copied, I enjoyed the copy. :-).

Oh well, Pomegranate Soup was not a literary triumph, but it was fun to read. Utterly delicious. ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
Marjan, Bahar, and Layla Aminpour are three sisters who fled from Iran in the early days of the revolution. First to London where the two eldest found careers and Layla settled in school. When a violent husband tracked down Bahar, they took flight again to a village in Co. Mayo, Ireland. There they opened a cafe offering traditional Persian food that seemed to have a bewitching effect on some - not all - of the villagers. This was a sweet story with a serious background, considering what the sisters had been through before leaving Iran. However, their problems were not yet over in the tight-knit, traditional community in Ireland. Mehran's writing is poetic in places, which pairs well with the enchanting, mystic quality of the ingredients used. Each chapter opened with a tempting recipe mentioned in the story.

The author was born on the eve of the Iranian Revolution that began in 1977 with the overthrow of Reza Shah. Her family escaped to Argentina where they opened a Middle Eastern cafe. Her husband is Irish. ( )
1 stem VivienneR | Apr 10, 2016 |
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Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland looks like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of “crazed sheep and dizzying roads,” they might finally find a home. From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron float through the streets–an exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Café, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh’s uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied–and by foreigners, no less. But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her red lentil soup, abgusht stew, and rosewater baklava–and with the transformation in her sisters. Young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems to be less nervous. And in the stand-up-comedian-turned-priest Father Fergal Mahoney, the gentle, lonely widow Estelle Delmonico, and the headstrong hairdresser Fiona Athey, the sisters find a merry band of supporters against the close-minded opposition of less welcoming villagers stuck in their ways. But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left behind in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present. Infused with the textures and scents, trials and triumph,s of two distinct cultures, Pomegranate Soup is an infectious novel of magical realism. This richly detailed story, highlighted with delicious recipes, is a delectable journey into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living.

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