Scents from the SAVEUR test kitchen waft through the office daily, beckoning editors to guess what’s cooking. When I was in charge of staff meal a few weeks ago, I spooned golden batter onto a hot skillet, releasing a saffron-scented cloud that brought the curious staff away from their desks and towards the kitchen door. “What is he making?” they asked each other.
“I’m making kookoo,” I replied.
I was sharing my mother’s recipe for Persian potato pancakes, a dish that I grew up with. When I was small enough to sit on the counter of our California kitchen, I would watch my mother shred potatoes and mix in eggs, turmeric, saffron, cilantro and a little garlic to make beautiful pancakes. During my family’s frequent and seemingly never-ending road trips, my mom would pack us kookoo wrapped in lavash bread, garnished with fresh herbs and tiny Persian pickles.
Now that I live in New York City, far away from my family’s home in Berkeley, California, kookoo has become my homecoming treat. I relish knowing that every time I arrive at the airport in San Francisco, my mother will have a few pieces waiting for me in the car.