Learning To Apply Eyeliner With A Sharpie: Pomegranate-Walnut Braised Chicken

1997 was the year of way-too-heavy liquid eyeliner. In my world at least.

I wore cartoonish swoops of black liquid eyeliner that would have 60s-era Bridget Bardot cringing at my lack of restraint. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I wore these oversized cat eye lines that looked like I had taken one of those chisel-tip Sharpies to my eyelids. Ballet performance? Trig class? Friday night at the local AMC theaters to check out Good Will Hunting? Eyeliner, eyeliner, eyeliner.

I’m not sure why I thought it looked good, but I wore it like it was my job. Along with an all-black wardrobe (that was pure wannabe bebe storekeeper) and as much gold jewelry as I could find. And I spent almost all my time with my Persian friends. Not to say that they talked me into that look, but to say I was an even cheesier, 90s version of a Shahs of Sunset episode would not be a lie.

Walnut-Pomegranate-590 Fashion issues aside what I did do a lot of in 1997 was dance at said Persian friends’ phenomenal parties. Which, if you haven’t been to a such a party, might require a bit of explaining. Imagine a house filled shoulder-to-shoulder with people, a huge spread of food, and everyone dancing to something along the lines of Spanish guitar music while some amazing 80-year old grandma belts in a way that would put Jennifer Hudson to shame.

My main workout of this time period was dancing at these parties and then promptly eating as much as I could handle. I’d then pause and repeat until the wee hours. Because there was no alcohol and the parents were around, I was allowed to stay past curfew with some of the parties going until the sun came up. Any of these parties worth their weight would have phenomenal food, like amazing Saffron Kebabs, tons of kumquats, and lots and lots of fesanjan or Pomegranate-Walnut Braised Chicken.

This recipe has been in my life for years, but I’ve never bothered to bring it back and make it myself until these past few months. There are as many versions of fesanjan as there are Persian grandmothers but the right proportion of pomegranate to walnut makes all the flavor difference. Too much of one and it’s too tart, the other and it’s too earthy – you get the idea. Though I am approximately no parts Persian heritage, I would like to stake my claim to fesanjan fame with this recipe. In fact, I’d be willing to head to one of my friend’s parties and have them taste it for themselves.

Just don’t ask me to put that Sharpie-like black eyeliner back on – that’s something that we’re all better off without.