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Cookbook Club: Salamati

A plate with metallic flower pattern on the edging shows bokchoi, apricots, and plantain in bright greens and oranges.

Love to eat? Love to cook? Join us for a monthly cookbook feast! Each month, the group picks recipes from a single book. Each participant chooses a recipe from the book and prepares it for the group's meeting. At our meeting, we eat the dishes we've all prepared and talk about what inspired us to make them.

In May, we'll cook from Salamati: The Persian Kitchen by Hamed Allahyari, a heartwarming story of resilience, homesickness, and good Persian cooking in 70 accessible recipes.

Allahyari embraces both traditional choices from Silk Road cuisine and new inventions, like savory “truffles” of feta, fennel seeds, and ground walnuts. Persian food’s zesty and herbaceous traits show in solid recipes including eggplant that is grilled, pan-fried, and topped with kashk or yogurt, and a bracing salad of tomatoes and pomegranate seeds dressed with vinegar and pomegranate molasses. Chapters arranged by course are interspersed with suggested menus: a lavish winter spread centers pilaf and chicken stew, while an array of street foods includes Persian hot dogs, and ice cream with pistachios, saffron, and rosewater. Endearing headnotes continue the thread of personal connection and also drop in cultural tidbits: a cucumber soup garnished with rose petals, for instance, is considered conducive to afternoon napping.

Hamed Allahyari cooks to connect—for that joyful moment you can say “salamati” (Farsi for “health” and “cheers”) around the table. The food of his native Tehran is a resonant and delicious gift, and a way of staying bonded to a country he hasn't returned to for a decade.

Hamed’s food is anchored in tradition but accessible to all. The recipes are simple, celebratory, appealing, flexible, and full of flavor. As well as working as a chef and caterer, Hamed has road-tested his dishes at hundreds of cooking classes: he melds Persian culinary culture and an understanding of Western palates to create recipes that are truly his—and now ours to share.

Beyond the recipes, Salamati is a gateway to Persia. “It’s sharing my culture,” says Hamed. “It’s my dream that everyone tries Persian food. And with my food, they come into my family. They are sitting with me, with my grandparents, parents, and cousins, talking, sharing, and enjoying the feeling of being together.”

The Cookbook Club meets in the Community Room at the South Burlington Public Library on the first Tuesday of the month. Copies of the book will be available for browsing recipes at South Burlington Public Library for a month leading up to the meeting. To attend, let us know what you plan to cook by signing up at the Circulation Desk or by emailing sbplprograms@SouthBurlingtonVT.gov.

All are welcome!

The Library is ADA accessible, patrons are asked to call (802) 846-4140 in advance if special services are required.

Masks may be worn in the library and at any library program.