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.