Author pays tribute to Iranian mother | May 2, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Arts & Entertainment - May 2, 2012

Author pays tribute to Iranian mother

Donia Bijan: 'She gave me courage to chase my dreams'

by Renee Batti

Local author and chef Donia Bijan will discuss her memoir, "Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen," in a special program celebrating Mother's Day — a week early — on Sunday, May 6, in the Menlo Park City Council Chambers.

The free event, from 3 to 5 p.m., is sponsored by the Menlo Park Library. Ms. Bijan, whose menus at her former restaurant L'Amie Donia in Palo Alto earned rave reviews, will prepare "sweet pleasures from her own original recipes for the event," according to Roberta Roth of the library.

Now a Menlo Park resident, Ms. Bijan is a native of Iran who as a teenager moved to the United States in the late 1970s as her home country was rocked by revolution. She studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, and has cooked in a number of acclaimed restaurants both in France and in San Francisco.

The May 6 program will be, in part, a tribute to her mother, Atefeh "Amy" Bijan, who was a nurse and a political leader in Iran before her family was forced into exile. In 2004, Amy Bijan was struck and killed in a crosswalk in Menlo Park, where she lived.

"I'll be talking about my mother and the ways in which she gave me the courage to chase my dreams, take chances, and make my work," Ms. Bijan said of her library presentation. "As well, I'll talk about her role in the women's rights movement in Iran prior to the Islamic regime and how many, like her — unheralded heroes of an entire generation of Iranian American women — lost everything and built a new sense of place for their children."

Ms. Bijan said she will also use examples, such as the Academy Award-winning film "A Separation," to examine Iran "through the lens of culture and history rather than war and aggression as a means to bridge the divide and override the rhetoric of politicians."

Copies of her book, which includes recipes as well as Ms. Bijan's memories of her eventful life, will be available for purchase and signing after the talk.

Free wheelchair-accessible van service to the event is available for Menlo Park seniors and people with disabilities; transportation can be scheduled by calling 330-2512.

Go to for more information about the author and her book.


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