Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In the bestselling memoir Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas recounted her adventures growing up Iranian American in Southern California. Now she again mines her rich Persian heritage in Laughing Without an Accent, sharing stories both tender and humorous on being a citizen of the world, on her well-meaning family, and on amusing cultural conundrums, all told with insights into the universality of the human condition. (Hint: It may have to do with brushing and flossing daily.)
With dry wit and a bold spirit, Dumas puts her own unique mark on the themes of family, community, and tradition. She braves the uncommon palate of her French-born husband and learns the nuances of having her book translated for Persian audiences (the censors edit out all references to ham). And along the way, she reconciles her beloved Iranian customs with her Western ideals.
Explaining crossover cultural food fare, Dumas says, “The weirdest American culinary marriage is yams with melted marshmallows. I don’t know who thought of this Thanksgiving tradition, but I’m guessing a hyperactive, toothless three-year-old.” On Iranian wedding anniversaries: “It just initially seemed odd to celebrate the day that ‘our families decided we should marry even though I had never met you, and frankly, it’s not working out so well.’” On trying to fit in with her American peers: “At the time, my father drove a Buick LeSabre, a fancy French word meaning ‘OPEC thanks you.’”
Dumas also documents her first year as a new mother, the familial chaos that ensues after she removes the television set from the house, the experience of taking fifty-one family members on a birthday cruise to Alaska, and a road trip to Iowa with an American once held hostage in Iran.
Droll, moving, and relevant, Laughing Without an Accent shows how our differences can unite us–and provides indelible proof that Firoozeh Dumas is a humorist of the highest order.
His and Hers There are only a few things in life that cause sheer jubilation in my father, and clearance sales are one of them. When I was sixteen, my father came home one day and breathlessly announced that the nearby engineering corporation was selling all its old furniture. “Nothing over seventy-nine dollars!” he kept repeating, trying to put a lid on his excitement. The following Saturday, my father and I woke up bright and early. Armed with the checkbook, we set out for the bargain hunt.
demise could be attained only if it came as a total shock. No sneak previews of my death were allowed. I was very disappointed to find out I had an ulcer. “Are you sure it’s not fatal?” I asked the doctor. My entire fantasy life, or rather fantasy death, was blown away with a simple pill and a few chugs of Mylanta. I was very disappointed. I returned to Berkeley with a somewhat better attitude and resigned myself to my boring life, a life that would never be made into a movie, expect maybe one
loved; snapshots of everyone in Hawaii wearing leis, wrinkle-free faces not fully appreciated at the time; college graduations of those long-ago babies; more wrinkled faces; my aunt and uncle all dressed up in front of the Stardust in Las Vegas with smiles that said, “It’s a long way from Abadan!” my uncle wearing seventies sunglasses, long sideburns, and more wrinkles; and finally the photos taken during the last year, his body looking frail and tired, knowing the end is near but still smiling,
have a saying that for every new food we try, we gain seven days of life. I may be immortal by now. The realm of gastronomy represents the only area where I deliberately seek adventure. I’ll try almost anything. I live by the “One bite won’t kill you” rule, and know that no flavor, however revolting, will linger forever, especially when followed by enough water. I have also learned that one country’s gourmet fare is another country’s cat food, and oftentimes the impression we make at someone
gyrated, I wondered what their mothers thought of this. People complain about the lyrics in hip-hop, but that’s “The Sound of Music” compared to the moves in hip-hop videos. The hills are alive, all right—with perverts. If the point is to sell the music, why must we see the dancers’ butts close up and personal? And someone, please tell Christina Aguillera that her stunning voice is enough. I won’t even bother complaining about lyrics. Suffice to say that I miss the days when singers expressed