Imanistan is an expression of my passion for Afghan cooking, a hub to centralize the different outlets, from my blog, to Instagram to Youtube videos. The kitchen was the heart of our home, my family and I are refugees from Afghanistan, my parents having left behind everything as they escaped the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 80's. I grew up in Ohio, and our home was filled with the endless love and generosity they showered upon my four siblings and I.
I soon realized the treasures of Afghanistan which my family did carry were those intangible things they brought with them to the United States. It was the culture, the traditions, the love and warmth filled in every bite of the unique delicacies we shared in each day at the dinner table. Though my family lost so much, my parents gave us even more in return. Imanistan is a space to preserve that beautiful culture and those rich traditions by sharing them with the world.
I'm a third generation cook. My grandmother studied food science at Kabul University and taught my mother the detailed process of how to perfect classic Afghan dishes. As a young girl, my mother was my best friend and so I stuck to her side closely. From the age of four, I inquisitively questioned each step she took in the kitchen, and with enough badgering, she slowly entrusted me with assisting her in the kitchen. I inherited her knowledge, and began taking over creating essential dishes in our home after she deemed my mastery of them. I watched as she, my father, and my grandparents poured their love into the dishes they carried in their heart from Afghanistan.
As I pursued my academic ventures, my life took shape around their journey. I conducted the first ethnographic study of Afghan Americans during my PhD at Northwestern University, learning in depth the struggles of the community, the beauty of its people, and the nuances that lay in between. As a Sociologist of culture and immigration, I gained a deep understanding of the Afghan diaspora.
As Iman the PhD student, I balanced my day by drawing upon the love and joy found in creating in the kitchen. I began applying my skills in research with my passion, expanding my knowledge of food science as I independently studied how to perfect some of my favorite American dishes, realizing the knowledge I inherited from my mother and grandmother was an invaluable foundation that I had built.
It is the warmth and love of Afghan culture, traditions, and foods that I seek to help you experience in your home through Imanistan. Join me in the journey to learning more about Afghan culture and cuisine, with the occasional infusion and foray into my favorite fusion dishes. I hope you can share in the warmth and love of these foods as you follow along Imanistan.