I am sitting at my kitchen table with an elegant array in front of me: golden chicken on blistered bread, ground beef in a narrow strip with a hole in the center (where it came off a skewer), and the longest long-grain rice I’ve ever seen. There are pickles and a little salad with both meals, and they’re tucked into Styrofoam containers.
It is all from Roksana’s Persian Food, near Watertown Square, and it is beautiful food that might be at home in a much more regal setting than my kitchen. I have always wondered why even in ordinary Persian restaurants, you get a kind of court cuisine, when most other cuisines from countries at some point under Ottoman rule offer a homier kind of country cooking. Iran’s food is full of long skewers, basmati rice that looks especially bright against flecks of grain soaked in saffron, and many intricate spreads and appetizers that might begin with roasted eggplant and end with a scattering of fresh pomegranate seeds painstakingly removed from the fruit.