Right before I left for Holland, I found the first edition of Irina Petrossian and David Underwood’s “Armenian Food – Fact, Fiction & Folklore” at Artbridge. Since I love their blog, also called Armenian Food, I bought the book and took it with me on my trip to Holland. Being a food lover (but not a very good cook) I found it a joy to read, causing more than one “Aha!-moment” when I learned something new or found the answer to question I had been wondering about. For me the chapter about Armenian cheeses was especially enlightening, but the one on herbs comes in as a close second. However, almost every single page held something new for me.
Apart from its educational value ;-), the book brought me many smiles of recognition, the chapter on khash for example, or the description of making the walnut preserve that I love so much. And yes, I do agree wholeheartedly that plain fried slices of eggplant with fresh coriander sprinkled on top is the best! That could very well be my favorite dish ever. I am an eggplant lover, so pretty much any dish with eggplant makes me happy, but this one just makes me a tinge happier.
The one topic that I did miss, however, is the Armenian New Year’s table. It is mentioned in passing in the book, but I would say it deserves a bit more attention as it is such a big part in Armenian food-related traditions and requires lots of effort and money so as not to show off a table less lavishly filled than the neighbor’s.
This is definitely a book that I will pick up again and again to check something or reread a part just for fun. If the recently published second edition is anything like the first edition, equally well-written and rich in information, then I very much recommend the book! If you are not planning on reading the book, then at the very least head over to the authors’ blog, where they publish posts that didn’t make it into the book.