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Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Doug's new book tells a very Armenian life story while sharing lessons learned along the way

I felt certain of the title the moment I decided to write the book: Stories My Father Never Finished Telling Me. 

It represents a dilemma that will be familiar to many Armenian-Americans born after the tumult that dislodged our parents and grandparents from their homeland.

My father, Nishan Kalajian, had the misfortune to be born in Diyarbakir, Turkey in 1912 at the core of the imploding Ottoman Empire. For him, the Armenian Genocide was not a distant, historic event but the defining reality of his life. He lost his mother, his home and everything familiar before being cast into the world alone.

I knew that much from an early age, but I desperately wanted to know more: How he survived, how he kept his wits and his faith, how he moved forward without being consumed by bitterness and hate. My father volunteered none of it. He dealt with his most painful memories in a most Armenian way, by pushing them aside.

My mother understood this better than anyone. She warned me never to ask him about such things and I never did, at least not directly.  But every so often when an opportunity presented itself, I’d approach the topic obliquely and with great caution.

When he responded at all, my father often shared only a scrap or two before changing the subject or retreating to his books. It was left to me to figure out the importance of each scrap, and to connect it to whatever had come before or after. This is how my life-long conversation with my father continued, in fits and starts, yielding scattered pieces of a puzzle that I’m still trying to complete more than 20 years after his death.

As a writer, I felt compelled to tell as much of my father’s story as I could because I believe it holds important lessons. But I also wanted to tell my own story about growing up in the shadow of a great cataclysm with a father who would not talk about what he had experienced. 

The book’s subtitle, Living With The Armenian Legacy of Loss and Silence, conveys my challenge in learning to appreciate a complex cultural inheritance that is rich and wondrous but also dark and painful to contemplate.

Most important, I wrote the book for my daughter and for her generation in hopes that they’ll figure out how to celebrate the best parts of that inheritance while finally vanquishing the pain.

Stories is my third book, and the first I’ve published independently. It's available in print and as a Kindle e-book. You won't find it at your local book shop but they can order it for you—or you can order one yourself through Amazon or other online book sellers. 

Or just click here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Looking for ways to use leftover Easter eggs? Read on...

Are leftover Easter eggs taking up too much space in your refrigerator?
Teereet (tirit)
Put them to good use in two of our tried-and-true recipes (teereet, Armenian potato-egg salad), or add them in this simple recipe featuring springtime fresh asparagus.

Photo from eatingwell.com
Roasted Asparagus with Garlic-Lemon Sauce

    2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed
    1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1/8 teaspoon salt
Sauce Ingredients:
    2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
    1 small clove garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
   Garnish: 2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Toss asparagus with oil and salt in a large bowl. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast, stirring once halfway through, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Combine mayonnaise, Feta cheese, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. If sauce is too thick, add 2 tablespoons water to thin it out.
To serve, drizzle the asparagus with the sauce and garnish with chopped hard-cooked egg.
If you prefer, the asparagus may be grilled instead of roasted.
To grill asparagus:
1. Preheat your grill for high, direct heat.
2. Break or cutting off any tough bottom ends. Place the asparagus on a plate. Toss with a little olive oil and salt.
3 Grill the asparagus spears for 5-10 minutes, until slightly charred and fork tender, turning them now and then so that they brown evenly.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings!

 As we celebrate Easter, we wish you all a glorious day! 

Krisdos haryav ee merelotz! Orhnyal eh harootiunun Krisdosee!

Christ is risen from the dead! Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!