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An innovative cookbook and documentary offering a unique window into contemporary Iran.
A unique cookbook filled with stories,  recipes and photography from inside modern Iran.
A unique cookbook filled with stories,  recipes and photography from inside modern Iran.
277 backers pledged £10,702 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Saffron: Tales from the Persian Kitchen

£10,702

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The concept

I'm on a mission to showcase a side of Iran that never makes the headlines. Armed with just a notepad and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, I want to travel through Iran asking a cross-section of Iranians to share their favourite recipes with me. 

From my 77 year old grandmother who lives on a rice farm near the Caspian Sea to 22 year old hip hop stars in Tehran, I'll be gathering recipes from fishermen and farmers, teachers and tradesmen, carpet makers and cab drivers. 

Whilst cooking together, I'll ask people I meet to share the stories behind the food that they love. These portraits and accompanying images will form the backbone of the cookbook and documentary.

Stretch fundraising targets 

To give this project the best possible Kickstart, it would be great to hit the following stretch fundraising goals. The more I raise, the more I'll be able to invest in the project and increase its impact.

 £10,500 Will enable me to travel more extensively in Iran with a photographer. The wider the range of portraits, stories, images and recipes that we gather, the stronger impact the project will have. 

 £11,500 Will enable me to create a beautiful website to support the marketing of the project. 

 £15,000 Would enable me to hold a photography exhibition of images collected from the project.

Pomegranates. Photograph taken by Madlyinlovewithlife, Flickr
Pomegranates. Photograph taken by Madlyinlovewithlife, Flickr

The inspiration

Ask the average person in the West what they think of Iran and chances are they'll mention bombs, nukes, war. And that's just if you get them on a good day. 

Quite frankly, I'm over this.

As someone who has unique access to Iranian culture I'd like to show you a different side of Iran. A side that entices you with its delicious and sophisticated cuisine; that takes your breath away with its dramatic landscapes of desert, tropical forests and snow-capped mountains; that touches your soul through the poetry of Rumi and Hafez and dazzles you with its intricate, beautiful architecture. 

At a time of increased international tensions between Iran and the West, this project will share a side of Iran that never makes the headlines, challenge stereotypes and give a voice to a people rarely seen or hear in the Western media. In doing so, it will guide readers on a fascinating journey into the hearts (and stomachs) of Iranians today.

The food

Iranian food is the stuff of fairy tales: velvety pistachio soups, saffron-infused steamed rice dishes and sumptuous slow-cooked stews. It is a cuisine known for its abundant use of fresh green herbs, unusual combinations of fruits such as dates, plums and quinces with meat or fish and delicate flavourings such as saffron, dried limes, su'mac and orange blossom. Signature dishes include:

  • Fesenjoon - Chicken poached in a rich creamy sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses.
  • Mirzeh Ghasemi - Smokey roasted aubergines, gently fried with plum tomatoes,  garlic, turmeric, eggs and olive oil.
  • Shirin Polo - Buttery steamed rice jewelled with carrots, orange peel, pistachios and saffron.

"Yasmin has the ability to inspire audiences on whatever issue she takes on. Her passion and creative flair will have us all cooking Iranian treats in no time." Jamie Catto, founding member of dance-act Faithless and producer of Grammy award-winning '1 Giant Leap'.
“Yasmin is an authoritative writer who brings a compelling voice to the issues she writes about.” Ruth Tanner, Campaigns and Policy Director, War on Want


Man selling spices on the street in Rahst, Iran. Photograph by Yasmin Khan
Man selling spices on the street in Rahst, Iran. Photograph by Yasmin Khan

The funding

The way Kickstarter works is that if I don't reach my fundraising target bu the time the campaign ends, I won't get any of the funds. Its all or nothing and every penny counts, bringing this project one step closer to life.

The money raised will fund 

  • The making of a documentary pilot, filmed in Iran, to pitch to production companies 
  • The collection of recipes and portraits for sample chapters of the cookbook 
  • A professional photographer to capture images inside Iran 
  • An editor to review the material 
  • Recipe testing 
  • Project administration (posting rewards and travels costs etc).

Ok, I'm sold. What do I do now?

Every penny counts, so any contribution you make will bring me one step closer to making my dream project a reality.

I am open to creative collaborations too, so if you want to get involved, get in touch.

I hope that together we can co-create a beautiful project that will share a delicious slice of contemporary Iran, at this most significant moment in time.

Yasmin xx

................................................................................

Massive thank you to Elisa Kriezis from Ton Ton Films for the wonderful Kickstarter video. For more on her work visit www.tontonfilms.com

Risks and challenges

The main risks and challenges I face for this project relate to filming and taking pictures within Iran where such activities can be restricted. I am committed to showcasing the positive side of this country and will be approaching this challenge with sensitivity and transparency at all times. I am confident that by launching the project on kickstarter - where the aims and objectives of the project are clear - the risks involved will be reduced.

The next challenge will be to find a publisher or production company with the vision to take the project forward. I have chosen the dual strategy of creating sample material in print and film formats to maximise my chances of success.

Above all, I am determined to work hard to make this project a reality. I passionately believe there is a story of a people, a country and a cuisine that needs to be told.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £3 or more About $5

    **LAHIJAN TEA LEVEL** Pledge the equivalent of buying me a drink and I will raise a glass in my living room and TOAST TO YOUR HEALTH! You will also get a public message of thanks on the project's social media pages.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $15

    **MAGIC CARPET LEVEL**

    A HEARTFELT THANKS from me on the project's social media pages and an (optional) NAMED CREDIT in the cookbook.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $30

    **CAVIAR LEVEL**

    In addition to the heartfelt thanks and an (optional) named credit in the final cookbook, you will EXCLUSIVELY RECEIVE AN E-VERSION OF SAMPLE CHAPTERS OF THE COOKBOOK featuring delicious recipes from inside Iran.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $46

    **ISFAHAN LEVEL**
    As well as the social media plug, the named credit in the book and the e-version of the sample chapters, you will receive a SPECIAL GOODIE BAG with a YUMMY SELECTION OF IRANIAN SPICES (sum'ac, golpar and cinnamon) so you can get cooking!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $76

    **GOOGOSH ACADEMY LEVEL**

    In addition to the thanks, the (optional) named credit in the cookbook and the e-version of the sample chapters, you will get an exclusive MP3 MIX OF IRANIAN SONGS chosen by me. Guaranteed to bring the sounds of Persia into your home whilst you are cooking in the kitchen!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $152

    **RUMI LEVEL**

    In addition to the heartfelt thanks, the social media plug, the (optional) credit in the book, the e-version of sample chapters and the MP3 mix, you will get a FRAMED PRINTED PHOTOGRAPH FROM COOKBOOK which will capture the essence of this beautiful country.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $381

    **HAFIZ LEVEL**

    In addition to rewards above, you get a 3 HOUR IRANIAN COOKING CLASS with me where we can cook up treats to impress your family and friends.
    (This reward is limited to those in the UK)

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $762

    **PERSEPOLIS LEVEL**

    In addition to the rewards above, I will CATER A PERSONAL IRANIAN DINNER PARTY for you and up to 8 guests.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,523

    **MOSSADEGH LEVEL**

    In addition to the rewards above I WILL INTERVIEW YOU FOR THE BOOK in a 'guest recipes' section. You get to select your favourite recipe and I write a portrait about you.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £2,500 or more About $3,808

    **NUCLEAR LEVEL**
    Woah - all bets are off! This reward is guaranteed to blow your socks off. The precise details are classified. No-one knows exactly what will happen should this level of funding be met. One thing is for sure though, it will go down as a day in history that neither of us will forget.

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Funding period

- (30 days)