If there's one thing about the Middle East that just about everyone might actually agree on, it's this.
The food totally rocks.
Now, you might be thinking about falafel, hummus and baklava, which is all well and good. But as I was reminded during my recent trip to Iran, the food in the Middle East is incredibly diverse when you go from country to country, even town to town. In Iran, it's not only about great lamb kebabs, though they were outstanding.
Persian food is also about the simple joys of things like fresh oven-baked flat bread, or just a sweet cup of tea.
For all of us, food can make for powerful nostalgia. And Azita Houshiar knows this very well.
Houshiar is an Iranian American, Brooklyn-raised, who went on a trip to Tehran last and decided to stay for the long term. She says she wanted to return to Iran, "not as a tourist or a visitor, not to be like the khareji, which means foreigner, ... but to come back and really reclaim my roots and be an Iranian as well."
Houshiar used to practice law in New York City. These days, she's looking around business opportunities and spending time writing a food blog called "Fig and Quince." I sat down earlier this month to talk with her about one of my own favorite subjects. Hear the extended version of our conversation, above.