The best part of Persian rice is the crunchy crust from the bottom of the pot—the tadig—which, traditionally, you aren’t supposed to serve until the end of the meal. Eat it before and "you’re saying that, in effect, the meal is over, and there are no more goodies," says Mahnaz Fashandi. "I had to tell my mom, ‘No, it’s OK to bring the tadig out with everything else.’" Negotiating the customs of their extended families is part of Mahnaz Fashandi and Jawed Umerani’s life: Fashandi, originally from Iran, has elderly parents who live with them about half the time and five siblings who pay occasional visits, while Jawed is from Pakistan and often sees his mother and three brothers. On both sides, there is a deep-rooted culture of enormous social gatherings.
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