The Armenian Way

I’ve been lucky in my life to have been exposed to, or met, people and cuisines so diverse it has expanded my horizons, not to mention my palate, enormously. I’ve previously written about Hungarian and Indian, two of my personal favorites, especially since each of them was attached to a Mother-in-Law! But, what an enchanting surprise when I met a new friend, circa 1991?. We just hit it off immediately, and became fast friends. Turns out, she is of Armenian descent, a culture I had not before experienced. I love that!! Because we became such good friends, I got to meet the Family, and was subsequently invited to family gatherings…which, of course, included Armenian food. Such a treat for me. I remember all the rituals (and stories) associated with creating the food, most of which included remembrances of her Grandmother. What struck me, actually more like floored me, was it seemed to be that Armenian food basically had three ingredients. Yes, that’s three!! How could a cuisine so delicious and full of flavor, contain so few ingredients? Well, I don’t know….I just know it is. Granted there are preparations which do take more ingredients etc. but the basics of this cuisine are pure, simple, and fantastic.

Lynne, my friend, and her mother, Lillian soon adopted me into the clan. This is where I learned the art of Armenian cooking first hand.  The most basic of which is Lamb Kabobs. From the old, hand-me-down skewers, to the ritual of cleaning the leg of lamb (a most tedious task, since ALL of the sinew, silver skin and fat must be removed) to the marination of it, to the ultimate skewering, involve ritualistic tendencies,  it all became a  source of wonder, and palate-pleasing foods.

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Tip of the Day

While running a catering company, cooking for large groups etc. it became an annoying chore to transfer lots of chopped vegetables, onions et al from the chopping block to the stock pot on the stove. I tried lifting the entire block and scraping into the pot, quite a hefty chore. Then, I came upon the definitive solution!! A dust pan, yes, for under $2.00 I could shove all the product into the dust pan and throw it into the pot. Eureka! Now, two things: you must let everyone who lives in your house know that this dustpan is a kitchen accessory, not to be used for actual dust. And, you must keep it in the kitchen, within reach, for such tasks, cleaning it as necessary.

It’s brilliant. And also saves a lot of stress and wear and tear.

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Post Holiday

OK, so the tinsel, lights and trimmings are down and back in the garage. The house, after all that, looks a little bleak and boring. It’s always that way, you get used to seeing the lights and all, and  suddenly, you’re back to bland. Oh well, that’s life. Maybe we can pump it up a little with comfy and interesting food to fill the void. After all is said and done, what could make us feel better than warm, comfort food.

What if we kick it up a notch and try something different? How about Indian food, my favorite, and one of the world’s most interesting foods. For you skeptics out there, Indian does not necessarily mean “curry” as you understand it. Curry is a spice that many think they don’t like; however, curry in the true Indian definition, is simply a combination of beautiful spices rendered together to form a magnificent “masala”, which is the basis of many Indian dishes.

My mother-in-law, Jane, taught me much about the cuisine. I remember, years ago, going to her house for Christmas dinner, and, to my surprise, she served a six course Indian meal for dinner. It was utterly superb. From the appetizer to the poori bread (she is very adept at making poori, where I on the other hand, still cannot make it like her)  to the cauliflower and chicken masala, I really did think I’d died and gone to heaven. It was sublime. Although, being Christmas, I also thought she was a little nuts, since I hadn’t experienced all this for Christmas. But, since then, we have enjoyed many an Indian meal together. My father-in-law, Harold, grew up in a missionary school in India, so he is well versed in the cuisine, the people and the land. He’s one of those few Caucasian  people, who, upon entering an Indian restaurant, calls for the “back kitchen pickles”, which the rest of us couldn’t even get near our mouths, they are so hot. He loves them. So, it it with this in-law background, I urge you to try some of these dishes, which are tame, for now since they are my first posting of the sort. I’ll ease you out of them, as time goes by. But, for now, trust me, and try one, and see what happens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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Ok, I think we’re back on track, at least I hope so. Instead of clicking on “Recipes”, use the “Index of Recipes” tab and all should be well. Hope to be updating now since the holidays have passed.

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Oh, Technology!

Well, today’s blog is devoted to my love affair with technology. Even though I spent 24 years in my previous life with it, it continues to be an enigma. Actually, it was a lot more straightforward back then. You moved a few wires, keyed in a few things, and voila! it worked.

So, to the dilemma of the day….apparently, you cannot access my recipes. You can see the lovely list, but you can’t actually pull up the recipe details. For this, I am frustrated and sorry. So, if you see something you would like to make, just e-mail me and I will happily send you back the recipe. You can leave it on my blog, or do it directly to:

There you have it. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know when the propeller heads fix the problem!

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