Sunday, August 24, 2008

1. Iran's olympic athletes returned home today, and huge crowds came to greet them at the airport. I think they mostly came to see taekwondo champ Hadi Saei, the only gold medal winner for Iran. In the photo from ISNA pasted below, a group of little girls in colorful traditional dress present Saei with flowers, and in the background you can see the people who have packed into the airport to see him:

Iran fared pretty poorly at the olympics, other than Saeei's gold, I think they got a couple of other medals. A country of over 65 million which is relatively sports-positive and can afford to nurture its athlete should have done a lot better.

Of course, the usual suspects are wasting no time blaming the person of Ahmadinejad and his administration for the olympic shortcomings. I was reading the blog of a hard-core Ahmadinejad supporter the other day and saw that one of his readers had left a comment asking him to please write a post showing that there is no relationship between the failures at the olympics and the current administration. In answer to this request, the blogger had sarcastically responded: as far as I know, there is nothing on this earth that isn't related to the Ahmadinejad government.

And the guy has a point. The Ahmadinejad administration is to blame for a whole lot of stuff, but come on, the olympics? The website of the Dutch government funded online paper Roozonline is actually a good place for finding some of the far-out connections people make between Ahmadinejad and whatever is going wrong anywhere. Too bad their headlines are just in Persian, but I'll try to translate some every now and again, just for comic value.

Anyway, congratulations to Iran's olympians, here is to a better performance next time.

2. My culinary goals for the next months are to find recipes for and cook as many northern Iranian dishes as I can find the ingredients for. Yesterday, I cooked Morghe Torshe, which is a chicken dish from Mazandaran made with ground herbs and walnuts. Folks from the province of Gilan have a dish with the same name, but their version has weird things in it like split yellow lentils and eggs. Still, I'm up for trying their version as well. For Mazandarani dishes, I am for now relying on recipes from my dad and grandmother, but I need some good stuff from Gilan. Any suggestions of websites or books to look into?

3. My friend Joann is one of the greatest people you could ever hope to know. I've been trying to get her to blog for ages, but it took being stuck in Chicago to persuade her to actually do it. If you want to discover Chicago along with Joann, check out her blog.