Sara

"It’s very important to me that I use fresh ingredients in my food"

Klik her for dansk.

Photo: Britta My Thomsen

Photo: Britta My Thomsen

Sara is a part of Trampoline House's catering service Sisters' Cuisine. She is also one of the chefs behind Sisters' Cuisine's cookbook, Recipes Without Borders, where she shares her favourite recipes and tells about Iranian food culture.

When I was a child, I really liked cooking because my mother is a very, very good cook. There are a lot of good cooks in my family. I inherited it. My mother’s brother was a chef. He opened a food shop, and he taught me a lot of things. He was a very good chef.

But my mother didn’t let me cook! When I was around eight or nine years old, I would hide ingredients and when my mother was out I would run to the kitchen and make cakes. I learned how to cook on my own. I was 14-15 when I started cooking, but my mother still didn’t let me. And it didn’t go well; I kept destroying things. But slowly, slowly, I learned.

My parents are from southern Iran, so I especially know food from that region. In Iran, there are different foods in the south, the north, the east, and the west. I know a lot of vegetarian food and seafood, because southern Iran is close to the sea and we always ate fish in my home.

I cook for myself here in Denmark, especially food from my country. I know a lot of very healthy soups, which are good for winter. I try to make healthy food. I use ginger a lot in my food, and garlic. They’re good for this weather in Denmark. The weather here is not so cold for me, because I didn’t live in southern Iran, which is very hot. My city is in the middle of Iran, and cold. It’s not so different from here, but here there’s a lot of wind. My city is near the mountains, but here it is flat and windy.

It’s very important to me that I use fresh ingredients in my food. I know about the vitamin content in the ingredients I use. For example, ginger is good for your immune system. This knowledge is in my culture. Everyone in Iran knows about what the vegetables contain. Which spices are good for chicken, which spices are good for red meat, and which spices are good for fish. We have a lot of different spices and some spices are very good for the body. For example, turmeric is very good for the body. It helps prevent coughing and is good if you’re swollen up. 

There’s an old culture of knowing what goes well with what in Iran. What you should eat with what. When we have yogurt, we put mint on top because the yogurt is cold for body and mint is warm. It regulates the body temperature. We don’t eat fish and yogurt. Two cold dishes together are not good for the body. When we have salad, we don’t use yogurt, because yogurt has calcium and calcium kills vitamin C.

When we eat fish, we use cumin. We make rice and add the cumin at the end. This kind of rice goes well with fish, because fish is cold and cumin is warm. And after eating fish, my mom would give me dates because dates are warm. This is good for the body. And it’s old culture.

I have been in Denmark for around one year. I was in Jutland until I was moved to Korsør asylum center three months ago. It’s far away, but I really like it here. I come to Trampoline House regularly, and I also have an internship at the swimming pool in Korsør. I taught swimming in Iran.

My son likes it here a lot and I feel very safe here. I really like Denmark. My son is four and a half years old and goes to a regular kindergarten. He speaks a little Danish, but he’s learning more. His last kindergarten was a camp kindergarten just for refugees, but here in Korsør all of his classmates are Danish.

I didn’t choose Denmark. I came here on a very, very hard trip. During the trip, my son was so sick. I wanted to go to Sweden, but Sweden closed the door. I had to wait some days outdoors, and wait, and I couldn’t because my son had a high fever. So I stayed in Denmark, and I’m really happy to be in Denmark. God chose for me. Sometimes you choose one way but God brings you another way!

Since Sara shared her story, she and her son got asylum in Denmark.


Read more

Click here to read more about Sisters' Cuisine's cookbook Recipes Without Borders.


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