Saffron rice. Mountains of fresh green herbs. Bowls overflowing with fruits and nuts. These are my favorite memories from childhood, intermingled with laughter and arguments, love and tears. The dualities that abound in Persian culture and cuisine pervade Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, as they do my memories. Nowruz is not a religious holiday, but a time of dancing and feasting to celebrate the change of seasons, death and re-birth, good and evil, and renewal for the year to come. Falling on the vernal equinox, Persians spend the weeks leading up to this event preparing for the ancient tradition. There is a massive spring cleaning, new clothes are purchased, and lentil sprouts are planted. But most importantly, there is the food, which takes on highly symbolic meaning during the holiday.