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Handguide: The American Women's Club of Iran

31 Jan 2010 20:579 Comments

Starting on Monday, as the Islamic Republic celebrates the "ten days of dawn," the period marking the victory of the 1979 Revolution, this little handbook provides a glimpse inside Tehran just before it was all about to happen. The lack of any telltale signs is itself telling -- and at times eerie, such as a listing for Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda, who was imprisoned by the Shah he served, then gleefully executed by the regime that replaced him.

Iran Handguide

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cho iran mabashad, tane man mabad!

shahpour / February 1, 2010 5:29 PM

This is a great document!!

When in Terhan in 2003, I found another artifact from that era, "Cooking in Iran" by the same group, The American Women's Club of Iran, published in 1972. Of course I bought it and brought it back to the States.

I'll give the authors a little credit for including some Iranian dishes, including chelo, but most of the recipes were definitely "western" if not wholly American. However, the drawings reveal a very colonial mentality, including a scantily clad dancing girl with a face veil!!

But the preface says it all: "While the have the privilege of living in the exotic strangeness of the East, we hold on to our American heritage and make for our families a familiar setting in a foreign land."

I'd be interested in hearing from others with similar "documents.!"

Charlie Buell

Charles Buell / February 1, 2010 10:13 PM

You need to lower the quality, cause it takes a long time to load even with DSL.

Navid / February 2, 2010 1:17 AM


Pardis Pourahmad / February 2, 2010 10:03 PM

I love the illustrations! Especially page 51.

Shoshana / February 3, 2010 7:18 PM

It is possible to print it???

Thank you.

Jonay / February 4, 2010 12:21 AM

It would be nice to have some more nuanced commentary on this (beyond "this provides a glimpse"), rather than floating it as some kind of confirmation of something that everyone already knows: i.e., that American expats in Iran lived in a bubble of privilege that helped them avoid having a clue about what was coming (or at least helped them pretend to ignore it).

I have a copy of this document as well as numerous others put out by the association. This genre of document is hardly exceptional or even extinct--if you were to visit, say, the Community Services Association in Cairo (a similar sort of association, catering to affluent expats in Egypt) or similar societies/orgs in other countries where there is a big expat population (American or otherwise), you would find the same sort of document being produced & circulated today. However ironic this document seems in retrospect, it is hardly surprising that expat communities would try to hang on to a sense of communal identity, rather than assimilate to the host culture.

Parvaneh / February 7, 2010 2:00 PM

This is # one, Payande baad Iran

MJ / February 9, 2010 6:31 PM

My Mom belonged to this Club.

The best cartoon is the Handsome male chef surounded by two Persian beauties with cat-eyes peeking from behind chadors.

Their cookbook was prized by many, all over the world....even in Scrsdale, NY!

Its recipes for Steak Au Poivre and Beef Strogonoff were favorites.

Funny story:

A somewhat famous author palgiarized one recipe my Mom authored, and transcribed it into the Scarsdale PTA Cookbook in the late 1970s.

Ironic how secret recipes made it via deceit thru a revolution!

Kayvan / February 19, 2010 11:59 PM