Anna Vishkaee Eskamani is currently a Florida State House Representative from the 47th district in Orange County. Born and raised in Orlando, she’s the daughter of working class immigrants who came to Florida in search of the American Dream. She is also a graduate of Orange County Public Schools and the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!).

Anna has been a leading voice and advocate for Florida families and small businesses during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, helping to open one of Orange County’s first testing sites at the University of Central Florida, as well as emphasizing the importance of wearing a mask, and practicing CDC guidelines to stop the spread of this virus.

In addition to fighting for worker’s benefits, Anna has also focused on housing and food security. She’s worked with tenants and landowners to help prevent evictions and halt rent increases. She’s asked the Governor to put into place a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures while working around the clock to identify financial resources so folks can pay their bills on time.

She’s also worked with Second Harvest Food Bank to connect the hungry with nutritional meals, has delivered meals herself to constituents, helped to prevent homelessness by direct cash support to families and connections to local nonprofits, and ensured Floridians in need were able to process their SNAP and TANF applications.

She made history as the first Iranian-American elected to any public office in Florida and has championed critical issues like economic justice, environmental protection, equality for all, funding for public schools, human trafficking and sexual assault prevention, and support of arts and culture funding.

We recently visited Shiraz Market in Longwood, Florida with State Representative Anna Eskamani and soon-to-be-retired Orlando Sentinel Opinions Editor Mike Lafferty. Mike Lafferty spent a few years in Iran before the Iranian Revolution in the 1960s growing up and so we wanted to break some Iranian bread together before he retired.

Anna was gracious enough to give us a little tour of Shiraz Market (recently featured in Andrew Zimmern’s Zimmern List on his apology visit to Orlando) and point our some of her favorite items to get there as well as chat with us about what is going on in her life –

Tasty Chomps Q and A with Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani

Tasty Chomps: What are your favorite memories around Persian/Iranian food growing up?
 
Anna Eskamani: My mom was an incredible cook, and we grew herbs in our backyard too. So there was always fresh mint and parsley around the house, and when you make Persian food (especially in a small home like ours) your neighbors can smell something good cooking. So my favorite memories are helping my Mom in the kitchen, and eating on the floor in the living room on a sofreh, which is basically a cloth on which food is served.
What is something most people don’t know about Iranian food/culture/
 
It has an incredibly rich history — we’re talking about from the 8th century BC.
Because of Iran’s strategic position on the Silk Road, the ancient highway that snaked from China to Europe, the caravans of tea, spice and silk passing through also carried with it Persian culture and food.
Foods like saffron, naan, tandoori chicken, samosa, kebab, lemon, tamarind, pistachio and jujube — all have some sort of Persian roots.
 
 What are your Top 3 must get items at Shiraz Market / Persian/Iranian markets?
 
Persian bread, jars of Ghormeh Sabzi (Iranian herb stew), and sweets from Saba Bakery.
 
What are your top 3 favorite Persian/Iranian dishes of all time?
 
This is a really hard question! I’m going to have to go with Ghormeh Sabzi, Khoresht-e fesenjan (Persian Chicken Stew), and Tahdig (crunchy rice!)
 
What are some of your favorite memories on your visit to Iran back in 2005?
 
My first ever trip to Iran was in 2005 to bring my Mom’s ashes to rest in the Caspian Sea. We visited two more times after that.
My favorite memories are spending time with my family and visiting Iran’s many museums and historical sites.
Tell us about your plans in the coming months and years as we gear up for 2022? 
 
We are all hands on deck to keep serving our constituents as we work collectively to get out of this pandemic.
We’re also working through my political organization People Power for Florida to register more people to vote, too!
 
What can people do in Central Florida to support diverse food, culture and communities?
 
Shop local! Check out a local restaurant that you’ve never visited before, bring your friends and be willing to try new things too.
Thank you Representative Anna for all you do for our community! To learn more, visit annaforflorida.com 
Anna is a vegetarian so the below are a few shots from what Mike and I ordered at Shiraz Market – delish!
Beef and Chicken Kebabs

Lavash Bread

Ghorma Sabzi Stew

Loobia Polo Rice with Beef and Green Beans

 

Shiraz Market
188 S US Hwy 17 92, Longwood, FL 32750
(407) 637-5967