Everything about Armenian food!

Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Now We're The 'Blessed' Armenian Kitchen

Father Paren Galstyan
We’ve always thought of our kitchen that way, but now it’s official.

We were joined recently by a small group of family and friends as our home was blessed by our Der Hayr, the Rev. Father Paren Galstyan of St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, Florida.

The house isn’t new to us but Father Paren is. Originally from Armenia, he recently moved to South Florida from Illinois. He is young, energetic, earnest and has a keen sense of humor that he’s eager to share.

He’s even more eager to share his faith and knowledge, which he demonstrated by doing something I’d never experienced through countless home blessings since childhood: He offered to conduct the entire ceremony in English.

I eagerly accepted the offer. He then conducted a question-and-answer session on the meaning of the traditional Armenian house blessing and stressed the significance of each of the three dishes arrayed before him: bread to sustain life, salt to preserve and water to cleanse.

Of course he was much more eloquent and offered both practical and spiritual meanings behind each symbol. Then he sprinkled the blessed water in each corner of the house.

He cautioned us not to discard anything in the now blessed dishes, so we made good use of the water by making a pot of coffee that we all shared. The bread served quite well in a sandwich a bit later that evening.

Father Paren said the church allows such blessings up to five times a year if the occupants feel it’s necessary. I think he did such a fine job that we’ll be safe from unholy intrusions at least until the blessed salt runs out. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Return to Asbury Park 2014 - an Armenian Kef Weekend at the the Jersey Shore!

For those of you who were fortunate enough to have vacationed in Asbury Park, NJ in the 1950’s and 60’s, you understand why there’s so much excitement about the upcoming ‘Return to Asbury Park’ weekend extravaganza, August 8th -10th.

In its hey-day, Asbury Park was the official summer hot-spot for Armenian families mostly from the Mid-Atlantic states, although some came from New England, and others from as far away as Michigan and beyond. 

The beach, boardwalk, Monte Carlo swimming pool, and expansive Armenian hotel porches provided places to meet old friends and make new ones, creating life-long relationships. I was just a kid back then, but, boy did we have a grand time! (Many-a-marriage came from these Asbury relationships, too. Just sayin'.)

Each summer there was a huge Armenian dance or two, usually held at Jimmy Byrnes’ gigantic hall in Sea Girt, a few miles to the south – and afterward – a stop at the Asbury Diner for light refreshments after a night of fabulous Kef. Sadly, both of those destinations are long gone. Worry not, the Berkeley and nearby locations will take care of your entertainment and dining needs.

The Berkeley Carteret Hotel serves as the headquarters of ‘Return to Asbury Park’ once again.  (Did I ever mention the summer of 1968 when I worked at the Berkeley as a waitress? That’s another story!)

Time is running out for room reservations, so don’t delay! The hotel phone number is 732-776-6700. Mention 'KEF' for preferred rate until July 25th.

Tickets for the various weekend events must be purchased in advance, too. 
Order now so you don’t miss out!