My Armenian mother, if I were to guess, has owned more than 100
pots and pans in her lifetime. She has replaced countless numbers of
them that have been used to cook Armenian and an array of other
ethnic meals over the years.
At first, the idea of owning a microwave seemed absurd to my
mother, who as long as I can remember disagreed with anyone who would
cook let alone reheat their leftovers in a microwave.
She still cooks most meals from scratch and has made it very clear
that the microwave is only to be used to reheat food. There shall be
no cooking of any kind of food in the microwave. Not in her kitchen,
at least. Yes, my mother has come to the conclusion that owning a
microwave has its benefits, including that it saves the pots and pans
from damage due to overheating of leftovers on the stove.
For most Armenian families, owning a microwave doesn't stop them
from cooking and preparing food the good, old-fashioned way. The
stove, oven and the grill on the patio are the tools of necessity in
almost every Armenian household.
Food is perhaps one of the most significant aspects of the
Armenian culture. It plays a role in bringing people together to
socialize or celebrate a special occasion. Above all, food is what
brings out some of the characteristics and traits of the Armenian
Anyone who has ever attended an Armenian wedding or a dinner party
knows that meals are abundant, with plenty of extra for the guests to
take home. When there is food at any Armenian function, the attendees
always feel obligated to help themselves even if they are not hungry
or have no desire to eat.
The host or hosts usually make it their goal to get their guests
to eat the food they have prepared. Being hospitable and generous
with the food to the guests provides them with a sense of
accomplishment -- they feel their party is a success if people are
eating and coming back for seconds.
There have been several occasions where I felt the host was
actually observing his or her guests consume the food, making sure
everyone was busy eating and even coming back for more. A friend of