Saturday, December 31, 2011

Salad Recipe from THE ANTIOCHIANS

Last night, Marash Girl finally decided to begin reading her copy of  THE ANTIOCHIANS, a novel set in Kessab, Syria, in the early 20th Century, based on the early life of the author, Dr. Albert S. Apelian, the book presented to her many years ago by Dr. Apelian when THE ANTIOCHIANS was first published.  Marash Girl had to stop reading the novel at page 20 in order to share with you, dear reader, a recipe Dr. Apelian shares with his readers for a salad his main character eats in a Kebabji (a restaurant specializing in shish kebab).  This is what Dr. Apelian writes:  "Kevork Agha . . .was served cubes of leg of lamb broiled on spits and a combination salad composed of chopped onions, (fresh) tomatoes, green peppers, parsley and crushed walnut-meat smothered in freshly squeezed pomegranate juice."

Were Marash Girl to make this salad (which she soon will), she would use her Cuisinart to grind the walnuts (as she has no idea how to crush walnuts) and bottled pure pomegranate juice (as she has no idea how to freshly squeeze pomegranates)!

Couldn't wait to share the recipe with you, dear reader...  If you try it before Marash Girl does, be sure to leave a comment as to how the salad comes out.

Marash Girl will keep you apprised of her reading of THE ANTIOCHIANS as she continues the adventure.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

NASREDDIN HODJA AND THE POT THAT GAVE BIRTH

Antique Armenian Lined Copper Gazan (ղազան)
In this season of festivities, Marash Girl always needs
large gazans (ղազան), pots large enough to make boulghour pilaf, lentil pilaf, chick pea salad, and tortellini salad for 100.  Ruminating on this fact brought to mind a favorite story of Marash Girl's Marashtsi relatives, a story oft-told in Turkish by her father Peter.  Here goes in English.

One day, Nasreddin Hodja borrowed a large pot from his neighbor.  After a week, he returned the pot to his neighbor with a tiny pot inside.  

The neighbor, surprised, held up the small pot and asked, "What's this? 
 
"Oh," replied Hodja, "the pot had a baby." 

The neighbor, delighted that Hodja was crazy enough to believe that a pot could have a  baby, carried the large pot and the baby pot home with him.  

A week later, Hodja borrowed the large pot again. The neighbor was happy to lend Hodja the pot. . . But this time, Hodja did not return the pot.  

The neighbor went to Hodja's house looking for his large pot: "Where's my pot?" he asked, annoyed.

"The pot died," intoned Hodja.

"Died?" shouted the neighbor. . . "How can a pot die?"  

"If a pot can have a baby, a pot can die!" chuckled Hodja.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

ARMENIAN CHICK PEA SALAD A LA SHAMIRAM BAROOSHIAN

Among the favorite salads at our Christmas Eve party EVERY YEAR is Marash Girl's adaptation of a recipe handed down by Shamiram Barooshian who brought the recipe with her as she escaped genocide almost 100 years ago.

If it weren't for Shamiram, Marash Girl would have no quick and luscious treat to serve the vegan members of the family.

Marash Girl rinses a pound of dried chick peas and soaks the chick peas overnight. The next day, she drains and rinses the soaked chick peas, covers them with cool water, and simmers them for 1 hour, after which the chick peas should be strained & refrigerated. When she doesn't have the time to use dried chickpeas, Marash Girl starts with a one gallon can of chick peas (yes, this is a staple for her vegan family members and a favorite of everyone else), rinses the canned chick peas thoroughly under cool, clear water and places the chick peas in a large bowl.  Whether using the canned or the home cooked chick peas, she then pours good olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a good wine vinegar in which a garlic clove has been marinating (always a staple in Marash Girl's kitchen), Kosher salt and Armenian (Aintab) red pepper and leaves the combination to marinate for an hour, or overnight.  Just before serving, she adds  lots of freshly chopped Italian parsley (including the finely chopped stems)  & freshly chopped scallions or chives.  This delicious salad is ready to serve within the hour and if refrigerated, will keep for days . . . that is, if it isn't finished the day you serve it!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Amahl and the Night Visitors


Remember watching this on TV when it first came out in 1951?  Well, perhaps you don't have that many years in you, but it was pretty exciting for the folks that saw it on their recently acquired TV's.   Soon everyone who owned a piano (and that was a lot of folks back then) owned the sheet music for Amahl and the Night Visitors, playing and singing the music, and humming the tunes which became almost as well known as traditional Christmas Carols.   In 1955, Amahl and the Night Visitors was performed at Newton High School with Donald March conducting the orchestra, Susan Stone playing the part of the mother, and Mark Golub as one of the three kings.  More recently, Marash Girl used to take her children to a performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors every year that it was performed at the Newton Presbyterian Church in Newton Corner.

Amahl and the Night Visitors was the first opera commissioned especially for television.  If you're wishing you could hear the original opera again, you can find a recording of the original at UTube (in 5 parts).  If you were hoping to obtain a copy of the sheet music, you're in luck!  One copy of the complete score, piano part, lyrics in English, and all voice parts in the original 65 page booklet is available at OldCornerBooks.com.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Asian treats on the day after Christmas

For Christmas, Marash Girl asked for a day trip to an unknown place, a place (or places) she had never been to before, and lunch or dinner again in a place she had never eaten before. Little did she know that her adventure would begin today right around the corner from the family's Christmas gathering place (thanks to Nisha's hospitality) in Burlington, Massachusetts!  With most of the family headed for the Boston Museum of Science, Marash Girl and Karoun headed around the block to #3 Old Concord Road in Burlington -- and what's there? Surprise!  H Mart . . . an oriental supermarket as large as any Marash Girl has frequented.  And what a treat!  Look at a display in the fruit and vegetable aisle.
Fresh mandarin oranges, leaves and all!
Before beginning our tour of the market, we decided to stop for a freshly baked oriental pastry and tea.  Sitting in the food court,  we noticed a big pot of steaming soup on the table behind us.  Soon the soup was joined by the chef (who had prepared it) and his kitchen assistants. As the chef began ladling out the soup,  Marash Girl commented, That looks delicious! How do you make it?  As he shared his recipe, the chef  allowed me to take a photo of his soup, though not of himself:  just put miso in water with tofu and fresh vegetables!  But be careful not to put TOO much miso, he added, as he pointed the way to the quarts of miso paste along the back wall!  Marash Girl can't wait to try it -- she'll add Chinese broccoli when she makes this soup!
Before leaving, Karoun (note the cup of coffee she's clutching in her right hand)  checked out the elegant display of roots for making oriental  teas. She found the long sought after licorice root but no wild orchid.  What she didn't know was that licorice root tea used to be Marash Girl's favorite!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Blessings

Early edition of John Hancock Christmas Carols
Peace on earth, good will to all.  Luckily, Christmas is wherever you are, because this year, Marash Girl's family must carry their joy with them, their songs in their hearts, and the little Christmas Carol booklets from John Hancock, some from as early as the 1930's, in their pockets.  What memories those booklets carry with them.  Where did Mommy acquire them? Did Mommy and Daddy have John Hancock Insurance, or were those little books everywhere, free for the taking in every store, ubiquitous during the Christmas holidays . . . Don't know, but do know that Mommy valued those little booklets which were in the family home over the years, even as the covers changed from a traditional colored Christmas night scene to a less colorful black red and white design. Marash Girl and her family had those little booklets  handy as did all the carolers who went caroling from door to door in those days -- (though it is unsure as to how they could read the words in the dark as the print was very tiny!)  John Hancock Christmas Carol booklets were as much a part of Christmas as the Christmas tree and the creche.  (Whoops . . . the commercialization of Christmas, but Marash Girl didn't know it then!)

Marash Girl's mother treasured those booklets and carefully packed them away on January 6 in readiness for the next Christmas celebration . . . and to this day, the family sings carols from those booklets which have become part and parcel of Christmas.  This year, as the family will be celebrating away from the homestead, Marash Girl went looking for the tiny treasury of Christmas carols; they were where they always are, on the right, in the cabinet next to the piano.  This year again, the greater family will participate in singing their joy to the heavens, young and old, Christians and Jews.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tortellini Salad a la Marash Girl

Here's a very quick and very easy salad that Marash Girl first made a few years ago at Karoun's high school graduation party -- their very own invention:  Tortellini Salad, and if it were not for the wonderful offerings at Costco, the combination would never have occurred to us!  Here it is in all of its festive glory.

1 large bag of all natural, no preservatives, frozen cheese tortellini
1 quart bottle of marinated artichoke hearts
1 quart bottle of peeled whole fire roasted red peppers in water (NOT PICKLED)
Boil fresh water in large pan, toss in still frozen tortellini, simmer until al dente. Carefully strain and discard water.

While the tortellini is simmering, strain and RESERVE the marinade from the artichoke hearts to use for dressing.  Quarter the artichokes. Put aside. 
Strain the water from the pimento peppers and discard that water.  Thinly slice the red peppers.  (If you prefer, thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes may be substituted for red peppers.)
While the tortellini is still warm, add the marinade from the artichoke hearts, the quartered artichokes, and the thinly sliced red peppers.  Toss carefully so as not to damage the integrity of any of the ingredients.  Adjust seasoning to taste by adding sparingly any of the following:  kosher salt, a good olive oil, red wine vinegar in which has been marinating a garlic clove. Refrigerate before serving.

Easy, quick, festive, and delicious!  This dish will be featured tonight at the family's annual Christmas Eve Open House.  Merry Christmas to all . . .



Friday, December 23, 2011

Mittens - you can't lose them if you don't use them!

Or put another way, if you use them, you'll lose them, or at least one of them.  Time to ask Grandma to crochet a chain attaching mitten to mitten and running that chain through the sleeves of our snow jackets, no matter what our age!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Quick and Easy Chicken Parmesan

Marash Girl went to dinner last night, to an elegant dinner prepared by her daughter in 1/2 hour, and you, too, can do the same.  Marash Girl will share the recipe with you ONLY if you promise to invite her to dinner when you prepare this quick and delicious meal.
Here's the recipe as created by Marash Girl's daughter, Nisha.  Really an adaptation of Chicken Parmesan with none of the fuss or muss!
For a generous meal for two . . .


Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Beat one or two eggs. Set aside.  Place bread crumbs (home made or purchased) in another flat bowl.
Dip chicken tenders first into beaten egg, then into bread crumbs so that both sides are covered with the crumbs.
Place chicken tenders on lightly greasedPyrex glass tray or baking dish.. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.


Remove from oven.  Cover the chicken tenders first with your favorite spaghetti sauce (she used tomato basil) and then with grated cheese (she used a good cheddar but any meltable cheese will do).   Bake for another 10 minutes.


While chicken is baking, saute a combination of frenched green beens and tiny pieces of broccolli (frozen or fresh). 


Voila.  A meal to live for!  Thank you, Nisha!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

From Farm to Table - Local Produce At Its Best

Still thinking about those summers living on the top of Wilbraham Mountain . . . the children used to work at the farm in the valley. The farmer would pay the children with vegetables as well as a roll of quarters.  Young Deron was so proud to be bringing fresh vegetables home to the family, vegetables that he himself had harvested, so proud that he announced to his Grandpa Peter one day, "Look, Grandpa, I'm putting food on the table!"  

Grandpa Peter, a lifelong gardener himself, never tired of telling the tale.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE FARMER'S POWER MOWER

As the first day of winter approaches, Marash Girl can't help but think about summer and the mountain, and the farm in the valley wheare the children learned to plant and harvest.  One summer many years ago, the children asked, "Who is that woman who lives with the farmer? Is that his wife?"  "No, she's the farmer's paramour," answered Marash Girl.  What the children heard Marash Girl say was, "She's the farmer's power mower!" and so she remained in the minds of the children . . . and, for that matter, in reality!

Monday, December 19, 2011

ON BEING A PALL BEARER

Is there anything heavier to bear than the coffin which carries someone you love?  To walk beside the coffin, with one hand on its highly polished mahogany, in front of you, behind you, around you, all those who loved the one whom the coffin enshrouds, and then to help to lift that shiny, tightly fitted container onto the hearse which will transport your once living vibrant friend to his final resting place. . .  What greater burden could their be . . .

Sunday, December 18, 2011

THE IRONY OF AGING

As a child, he hears but does not listen.  Now he listens but does not hear.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tebowing in the 1960's: Richie Koumruian in Brooklyn, NY

It was in the little house on E. 15th Street in Brooklyn, New York, that Marash Girl first witnessed Tebowing.  It was her jokester cousin Richie Koumruian of firefly fame visiting his grandfather (Marash Girl's Uncle Manoog), and amusing his young cousins, by randomly and suddenly falling into the Tebow position, mimicking relatives who made a show of their religiosity, and sending us into gales of laughter.  Even then, he, like young Marash Girl, knew that in the Bible we are instructed to pray in secret.



In Matthew 6: 5-6, Jesus delivers His Sermon on the Mount (King James Translation):
". . .And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

The closet we enter must be our hearts, for if not our hearts, how else could we follow Saint Paul's advice to pray without ceasing. . . (I Thessalonians 5:17)

All of the above withstanding, this post is not meant to be a criticism of Tebow.  Tebow is posturing.  Posturing is part of football. And posturing is Tebow's way of taking a stand for Christ. Good for him, or as the old folks might have said multilingually, (and they were all VERY multilingual), Afferrim, djanum! Abris, dghas!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Remembering Norman Krim

In yesterday's Boston Globe, you may have seen the following death notice:
"KRIM, Norman B. 98 of Newton on Wednesday morning, December 14, 2011. Radio Shack, Pollack Company, Raytheon Exec and Inventor, and at the Cutting Edge of Transistor Development. At Raytheon Krim was at the cutting edge of miniaturizing electron tubes in the 1940's, innovating many improvements for radar and armaments during WWII, and developing the first pocket radio using his tubes and later transistors for transistor radios in the 50's, leading the company and the global market on transistors. He was President of Radio Shack, a Boston-based company, and later of Joseph Pollak Company."
But Norm was none of that for Peter and Marash Girl.  They came to know Norm much later.  Peter and Norm first met at Newton Wellesley Hospital, after each of them had had a serious bout with their hearts.  They exercised together weekly under the supervision of Nurse Giselle who they adored. They soon decided to  start going for lunch after their weekly exercise, and go to lunch they did.  Once a week, after exercise, Norm and Peter, and soon Neil, would go to the Old Country Buffet in Watertown to chow down.  They looked forward to those luncheons.  But the day came when Newton Wellesley decided to cut back on its expenses and no longer allowed these 'boys' the luxury of a supervised exercise room, so their exercise became lonely daily walks, but their jovial luncheons continued weekly, now at the Newton Marriott where the waitresses and waiters doted on the three men as they ordered their Wednesday luncheon buffets.   A handsomer threesome you could not find! 
l to r  Neil Smith, Dr. Timothy Johnson (ABC & Channel 5), Norm Krim, Peter Bilezikian pose for Marash Girl at the Newton Marriott
The view of the Charles River was unmatchable and the conversations were non-stop . . . everything from history (ancient and modern), to old jokes to taxes to Presidential politics to memories of days gone by to the love life of the prettiest waitress in the room to the food being offered that day to the work that Norm was doing as archivist for Raytheon.   The day came when Peter gave up his driver's license (at age 92) and Marash Girl, who then drove Peter to those luncheons, joined the fray.  A more gracious group of jokesters could not be found . . . a contradiction in terms?  Not with these guys.  The 'boys' loved going to lunch at the Marriott and the waitresses doted on the 'boys'. When Peter left them for a Better Place in March of 2010, the luncheons were no longer.  As Marash Girl's father used to comment on such occasions, "Those days are gone . . . forever." 

But Marash Girl figures that Peter and Norm are whipping it up in heaven just as they did on earth, even as she writes this post.

Services for Norman Krim will be held this Sunday, December 18, at Levine Chapel, 470 Harvard Street in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Red Cabbage Salad . . . Especially for Chris Metz

If recipes aren't made in heaven, perhaps delicious food is, at the least, blessed.  So winging it one Christmas, Marash Girl created a never before tasted or seen salad.  Here is Marash Girl's recipe for Red Cabbage Salad.

Remove outer leaves and quarter a small head of red cabbage. (Small insures tender leaves.)
Cut the cabbage into quarters, rinse under cold water, drain, and remove core.
Thinly slice or shred the quartered cabbage.

Salad dressing:

Tamari (ONLY the naturally brewed tamari soy sauce such as SAN-J that can be purchased at all natural food stores; the other 'stuff' that you must absolutely avoid, popular commercial 'soy sauce', is composed primarily of salt and caramel food coloring with lots of preservatives!)
Olive Oil (good and fresh)
Wine vinegar (i.e. a good red wine vinegar that has had a peeled clove of garlic marinating in it for a while)

Don't even try this recipe if you don't have a good Tamari.

That's it.  Now don't ask Marash Girl how much of each ingredient.    Taste it and you decide.  Better  to start with less and add more than the other way around, right? And no, Marash Girl DOES NOT add salt, pepper or Aintab red pepper to this salad!

The great thing about Red Cabbage Salad is that it tastes better the longer it sits, so you don't have to feel guilty when you make it the day before your event.

Whenever Marash Girl makes this salad, she makes it with Christopher Metz in mind. He loved Marash Girl's red cabbage salad so much that he got to take home all the leftovers (if there ever were any)!  Unforunately, this salad won't survive a trip to Thailand. . .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RECIPES AREN'T MADE IN HEAVEN!

As the holidays approach, and you, the cook (be you mother or father, daughter or son, niece or nephew, or simply friend) start thinking about the perfect holiday table, don't stress.  Just remember what Medzmama preached:  "Recipes aren't made in heaven." 

Have fun.  That doesn't mean that you should necessarily try a new creation the night before the holiday.  As you may have gathered from past posts, you don't have to follow any recipe exactly.  In fact, you don't have to follow any recipe.  Adapt, create, try new spices, try new ingredients.  And taste!  That's the secret!  Keep tasting till the taste is right!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cream Kadayif for Christmas

Every Christmas, my mother would make Cream Kadayif-- not the kadayif with the nuts and the sugar syrup that everybody else used to make, but the kadayif with the rich delicious cream filling.  I can still see my mother in the doorway of the dining room, presenting her waiting admirers with a circular tray of cream kadayif just out of the oven! Where did she learn to make it?  Not sure, but we think she learned from Rose, the friend we wouldn't be without in the kitchen.  From my mother, Grandma Jennie, we learned what food was supposed to look like, taste like, smell like, but from Rose we learned to make it because my mom was no longer with us.  Rose was a friend of my mother's; they were both Aintabtsi; they were both great cooks; they both attended the Armenian Women's Educational Club in Watertown, Massachusetts; they both attended every meeting where, whether at their home or at another member's home,  the table would be spread with the most savory and sweet of Armenian delicacies.  We were all lucky because Rose's daughter, Mary Baboian Balyosian, recorded those recipes and published them in a volume which we all cherish (and which, in fact, I have for sale, inscribed and signed by Mary, online at my bookstore: http://www.OldCornerBooks.com

My daughter Nisha wanted to continue the Cream Kadayif Christmas tradition started by Grandma Jennie, but because I had never made cream kadayif, I simply handed Nisha Rose Baboian's Armenian American Cookbook (of which we have a copy on each floor of our home and in each home of each of my daughters).  Of course, Nisha and I both remembered what the cream kadayif was supposed to look like and taste like, and we made sure that ours looked and tasted just like Grandma Jennie's.  Whenever someone asked how to make Nisha's Cream Kadayif, Nisha gave all the credit to her Grandma Jennie and Rose (both great Aintabsi cooks, of course -- Rose was actually born In Aintab), and directed them to Rose's cookbook.  'But why doesn't my kadayif come out the same as yours?', my brother's wife Anjel asked every year.  Well, we never really knew the answer to that until this Christmas when Nisha suddenly realized that we've been making Grandma Jennie's Kadayif all along, not Rose's!  We always put  twice as much cream filling (and probably a dab of extra cream and and a smidgeon of extra butter,)  and that has made all the difference!!!  (Credit to Robert Frost for the last seven words of this post!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

REMEMBERING LARRY MAFFEOLA

A handsome dark-haired policeman crossed the children in front of the old Claflin School at the corner of Washington Park and Walnut Street in Newtonville (opposite what was then the Newtonville Library and is now the Newton Senior Citizen Center). An honored few student crossing guards would assist the policeman, standing at the curb, protecting classmates from rushing headlong into the traffic (even though there were not many cars  then) -- the 6th Grade students wore white bands across their jackets to signify their special status.  Marash Girl always remembered the dark-haired policeman (and the other policeman who was known as Happy because he always had a smile and a happy word for the kids). Marash Girl didn't know the dark-haired policeman's name at the time. It wasn't until years later that she met Larry -- her mother (Jennie) had long since gone to heaven (with a smile on her face, mind you!), her father was in his mid-eighties, and so was Larry. It was then that she learned that Larry and her father had always been good friends. And it was then that she began to accompany her father on visits to Larry and his wife, visits which were returned at Marash Girl's Christmas parties (an extravaganza of vast proportions, with all of Newton Corner, and Armenian friends and family from Watertown and Belmont, and a chosen few from the 14 villages of Newton.)

One Christmas season, and after Larry's wife had passed away, some days before Christmas Eve, Larry arrived at Marash Girl's house in Newton Corner for a short visit with her father (Peter) and noticed that Marash Girl had cut down the top from another table to use as the surface for a beautiful Victorian coffee table base (which she had purchased years earlier from Garage Sales in Newton Highlands when she was escorting her niece Katie Atikian and Katie's new husband Jerry Reilly on a tour of the antique shops in Newton -- they insisted on her buying the beautiful Victorian table base for the living room of her Victorian house built in 1870, even though the table WAS missing its top!) Larry took one look at the table, excused himself, went out to his car, returned with a tape measure, took the measurements of the erstwhile table top, looked at the colors in the oriental rug, and left. Marash Girl had no idea what he had in mind.

On that Christmas Eve, too early for the party, there was a knock at the door of the old Victorian house on Maple Avenue, and on answering it, Marash Girl found Larry hoisting a beautifully finished granite table top -- (he had carried it up the six front stairs and lugged it across the porch by himself, but it took two adults to help him get it into the living room and place it atop the Victorian coffee table base.) Magnificent! Marash Girl couldn't believe it! A perfect fit and a perfect match for the oriental rug (which, by the way, had been left to her by Uncle Vartan -- Reverend Vartan Bilezikian -- it had been in his living room all those years that Marash Girl and her siblings visited as children, singing hymns to the heavens!) Marash Girl was laughing and crying and hugging Larry and her father (who just happened to be there also). . . a gift of vaster proportions than she could have ever imagined.

Marash Girl was to learn later that Larry's father had been a stonemason and a marble cutter and in Larry's back yard (Larry lived down the Lake, i.e., Nonantum,  the oldest village in Newton) had been stored years earlier pieces of uncut, unfinished marble and granite. That week, Larry had rummaged under the snow in his backyard and found the perfect piece for Marash Girl's coffee table; rekindling the talents that his father had taught him years earlier, Larry created a work of beauty which sits in the living room on Maple Avenue to this day, a centerpiece for all to admire, a memorial to Larry Maffeola and his father.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Losh Kebab (Armenian Hamburgers) - 2.5 variations on a theme

 Oh, to cook on the fireplace on top of  Wilbraham Mountain
In Marash Girl's family, a favorite way of preparing hamburgers (traditionally made with ground lamb, but often made with part lamb and part beef, or simply ground beef) is to mix the ground meat with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, Aintab red pepper, and lots of finely chopped Italian parsley -- the flat leaf variety (Marash Girl stops there but Marash Boy prefers to add 100% all natural soy tamari in place of the seasonings mentioned above).  In addition to the parsley and seasonings, Grandma Jennie and Medzmama added finely chopped onions, finely chopped green peppers, and tomato paste.  Whatever you decide to add to your ground meat, mix well with your CLEAN hands and shape into patties or shape into hot dog shapes onto a skewer; cook under broiler or over gas grill, or better yet, over a charcoal grill or an open fire.

     The Armenians call this meal Losh Kebab or simply Losh, and often serve it in pideh bread with lots of pervaz for garnish. (Remember? Finely chopped fresh parsley, fresh green peppers, and fresh scallions tossed together.)

     Take Marash Girl's word for it:  Losh Kebab is deLOSHous!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

La Lechuza - And on earth, peace, good will

La Lechuza, la lechuza
Hace shhh, hace shhh
Hagamos silencio, hagamos silencio
Por favor, por favor.
(sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques")

When Aline was very young, and Raffi was in utero, Aline would always sing to Raffi .  She would sing  the song (see above) that she had learned at her day care, the Little Flower Montessori School. 

How is it that you learned this song? Marash Girl asked her granddaughter.

In school, whenever we were noisy, the teachers would start singing to us, and pretty soon we would join in and we would all be singing and then we would all be quiet and peaceful.  (A lesson to be learned here, ladies and gentleman?)

Aline loved singing this song and would sing it to her little brother during that time when she could not yet see him.

Thus it was that after Raffi was born, whenever he started crying or fussing, Aline would sing 'La Lechuza' to him, and hearing the voice and the music that he had known from before his birth, Raffi would stop crying and be at peace with the world around him.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Armenian Bulghour Pilaf - Three Variations on a Theme

Marash Girl's simply delicious bulghour pilaf:

Finely chop or slice one large yellow onion (after peeling, of course); In a heavy leCreuset pot or the like, saute onions unhtil golden in approx. 1/4 c. olive oil.  Add 1 cup MEDIUM bulghour.  Saute til color changes slightly.  Add 1 can V-8 juice and 1/4 c. water (for a total of  1 3/4 c. of liquid).  Bring to boil, stirring.  Turn off heat and leave mixture to sit in pot, covered, for about 20 minutes.  Perfect bulghour pilaf.

A variation on the above:  

Fancy bulghour pilaf:  In heavy pot, saute one chopped onion, one chopped green peppers, one chopped tomato, add one cup medium bulghour and saute for a minute.  Add 1 3/4 c. chicken broth.  Salt to taste.  Bring to boil, stirring.  Turn off heat and leave mixture to sit in heavy pot, covered, for about 20 minutes.

Traditional Armenian bulghour pilaf. 

In heavy pot, saute a handful of fine vermicelli (shehreh), broken into pieces in 1/4 c. olive or butter or a combination of the two. Add 1 c. medium bulghour; saute.  Add 2 c. chicken broth and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and leave mixture to sit in heavy pot, covered, for about 20 minutes.

N.B.
1) Make sure you purchase your bulghour from a Middle Eastern (preferably Armenian, of course) Grocery Store.  DO NOT purchase bulghour from the natural foods store, because it's not the right thing and your dish will not come out the way it should.

2) Marash Girl's mother and grandmothers used to simmer the boulghour pilaf for 15 minutes, but that's not necessary when you use a covered heavy pot, especially in the light of going green and avoiding the possibility of burning the pilaf!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

LAMB SHANKS a la MEDZ MAMA

Marash Girl received a chain email from her friend who was sharing Marash Girl's recipe for lamb shanks, a recipe Marash Girl had shared with her years ago.  Here it is:

Wash lamb shanks under cold water and pat dry. Cover the lamb shanks with peeled, broadly sliced onions, peeled & chopped garlic (Marash Girl's addition -- Medz Mama would never use garlic and onions in the same dish), fresh green peppers, seeded & broadly sliced, fresh tomatoes sliced into quarters or canned whole tomatoes, kosher salt, pepper, Aintab red pepper.  (The chain email recommended cumin and bay leaf, though that was definitely not original to Marash or to MedzMama.)  Simmer in slow cooker, or bake in oven uncovered for an hour or two, or until lamb falls easily off of bone.  Serve hot over Armenian rice pilaf or bulghour pilaf.

Marash Girl's friend (and partner in crime during their trip to Egypt) writes, "I recommend serving this as lamb shanks or for a larger group I suggest taking the lamb off the bone before serving.  I sometimes do this same recipe but use cinnamon and allspice instead of cumin."

If you don't know how to make either rice pilaf or bulghour pilaf, serve the lamb shanks over plain rice, or check in later this week for the recipe for Marash Girl's very own bulghour pilaf.

N.B.  Here's the recipe as Marash Girl and her friend recorded it many years ago:
5 lamb shanks, 8 large quartered tomatoes or 2 large cans of whole tomatoes,
5 coarsely cut green peppers, 2 large onions sliced, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf, 2 tbsps. cumin
Place lamb shanks in casserole, bake covered at 350 for 2 hours.  Serve over rice.  If you plan to serve this at a buffet dinner, you may want to remove bone before serving.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

JENNIE BILEZIKIAN & ALMA'S ARMENIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

On the 20th anniversary of her mother's death,  Marash Girl was reading the Armenian Mirror Spectator (Nov. 26, 2011, issue) when she came upon a letter to the editor from Haig Der Manuelian (HOVNANIAN DESERVES ACCOLADES, OTHER ASSEMBLY FOUNDERS NEED TO BE REMEMBERED).  In that letter, der Manuelian mentions Marash Girl's work in the 1970's as the administrator of the ALMA Oral History Project, but what he does not mention, nor does he know, is the part that Marash Girl's mother played in that project.  If it were not for the support that her mother gave Marash Girl at that time, caring for the children, cooking, providing names and introductions to survivors who her mother knew would be willing to talk with her, there is no way that Marash Girl could have administered ALMA's Oral History Project.  So here's to you, Mummy, Lucille Mae (Jennie) Vartanian Bilezikian, who allowed the project to happen, and here's to all the survivors who were willing to relive the horror of their experiences in order that their stories be known to all in the future.

To read other blogs by Marash Girl on Armenian Oral History, please click the following links:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

'Yardsaling' with my father

My father loved antiques, not because they were antiques, but because they were made by craftsmen.  He recognized and valued good work.  He was the best person to have along with me on yard sale Saturdays.  He would spot furniture that I never saw, way in the corner of the yard.   (At an 'everything for free' yard sale, he saw the most valuable item there -- an old wooden trunk; it was late in the day and everyone else had missed it.)  He never complained when I saw a lamp sitting on the sidewalk on trash day -- he knew he could fix it and it would be far better than any lamp you could buy in a store today.

He welcomed the pile of 'sticks' I brought to him one day -- sticks that had been sitting on the sidewalk, free for the taking.  He reconstructed those sticks into their original state -- and presented me with an early handmade Massachusetts chair, circa 1795.  He not only put that chair together, but had his artist friend touch up the hand painting that had been damaged on the back of that chair.

He saw value in what other people threw away, and gave me my first lessons in true recycling.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The honor system works in New York City!

Called Select Bus Service, this new form of trust is currently available in Manhattan only on the M15 line (this is the bus route with the most riders of any one bus route in the MTA; it runs along the east side of Manhattan from Harlem to the Staten Island Ferry terminal).  In an effort to find ways to make bus service run more smoothly, the MTA decided to introduce a system that allows riders to pay before they board a bus.  That way, the riders can use any of the three doors (older buses have only two doors) to board.  This cuts down on waiting time for every rider to pay at the front before the bus can continue along its route.  Of course, this manner of payment is an honor system of sorts.  Prepayment gives the rider a receipt which is to be shown on demand if asked for proof of payment on the bus.  The penalty for 'non-payment' is $110.  I've never seen anyone asked nor have I been asked to show proof of payment, and I ride that bus at least twice a week.  I think the MTA hopes to expand this service to other lines, and has in fact, instituted a similar system on one of the crosstown buses.

Above contributed by visiting blogger DC.  Check out his blog at PubCrawlNYC.com

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A BOOK ON ARMENIAN NAMES? A Book that makes a Perfect Gift

Want to give your soon to be born child/grandchild/greatgrandchild an Armenian name but don't know many?  Consider ordering ARMENIANS' NAMES, a book compiled in the 1970's by Martha Bilezikian Atikian (daughter of Armenian parents from Marash and Aintep)  and Hagop Atikian (an Armenian who immigrated to the United States from Kessab, Syria).  Completely in English, ARMENIANS' NAMES lists boys' names and girls' names alphabetically, and gives their meanings, and yes, all in English.  The compilation is fascinating and the brand new, out of print book, a perfect gift for couples about to have a baby.  Just go to http://www.OldCornerBooks.com, and fill in the search block with the last name of the author and/or the title of the book.  Ordering information will appear soon thereafter.

The book ARMENIANS' NAMES is the perfect anytime anywhere gift. 

Giving a child an Armenian name is a gift that lasts forever.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CENTURY 21 - FASHION WORTH FIGHTING FOR

Century 21, New York City's Filene's Basement, is not kidding when it claims it has fashion worth fighting for.  A New York fashion maven of Marash Girl's acquaintance reports that no sooner had she selected a dress from the rack at Century 21,when a stranger came by and grabbed it out of her hand, leaving the New York fashion maven speechless and dressless.

Friday, December 2, 2011

COMMENT OVERHEARD ON THE BOLT BUS HEADING FOR NEW YORK CITY

"I know my ideas are right and I don't need to prove them."

Brandeis Sophomore explaining why she didn't apply to Harvard.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What is your plinth?

Marash Girl just learned about plinths this last month from Eulogio Guzman, Professor in the Visual and Critical Studies Department at the Museum School, Tufts University, during the preparation for the Yusuf Karsh Exhibit at the Armenian Library and Museum of America, and her newly acquired knowledge got her to wondering.

A plinth.  A foundation for what comes next.  As unsubstantial as it seems, it carries weight and bulk, weight and bulk which, without the plinth. could not stand.  Our feet are, in a sense, our plinth.  Or for many the BIBLE may be the plinth.  Witness the children's Sunday School chorus:

                   The   B    I     B    L   E
                   Yes, that's the Book for me
                    I stand alone on the Word of God
                   The   B     I     B     L    E!

Or another popular Sunday School chorus (calling to mind Daniel in the Lion's Den of Old Testament fame):
                    Standing by a purpose true,
                    Heeding God’s command,
                    Honor them, the faithful few!
                    All hail to Daniel’s band.
  •             Dare to be a Daniel,
                Dare to stand alone!
                Dare to have a purpose firm!
                Dare to make it known.

For those without a Sunday School background, the concept of the plinth may call up memories of a song popularized by Bette Midler, and sorry for the mixed metaphor here, 'You are the Wind Beneath my Wings . . .'  -- Or could wind also be considered a plinth?

So think about it.  What steadies you?  What grounds you?  What holds you stable, without fear of falling?

Who or what is your plinth?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fearless Pudd the Protector

Pudd was part Maine Coon as evidenced by her occasional silent meows, her drinking by cupping the water into her paw and bringing the water up to her mouth, her beautiful markings (black with white throat and paws), her long fur, sleek on the top, fluffy under the top layer . . . and her fearlessness.  She came to us as a kitten from the wilds on a cold and rainy night . . . And she stayed with us until her final day.  

Pudd accompanied us to Wilbraham, and on those summers, nary a mouse nor a squirrel could be seen in or around the house.  Pudd would prowl along the rafters making sure that all was clear both day and night.

One summer, a feral cat gave birth to kittens back by the shed, alongside the path leading into the woods.  Pudd   had nothing to do with that cat.  That is, until one day, when she saw the neighbor's dalmation leaping full speed across the acreage that divided our cabin from the neighbor's house . . . full speed towards the feral cat who was nursing her kittens.  The dog had no sooner passed our cabin when Pudd went into action, and caught up to the dalmation just as it reached the nursing cat's abode . . . Pudd leaped onto the dog, yowling, a dog 10 times her size, dug her claws in, until the dog turned around, shaking Pudd off, and returned full speed to his house across the way.

Pudd risked her life for her neighbor, a neighbor who she ostensibly did not know, a neighbor who needed her help.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pudd teaching: Kittens, come hither

Pudd had four kittens that first time.  They were born on the floor of the little clothes closet in our bedroom next to our bed.  Pudd soon moved them downstairs to the dining room where the action was.  When it was time to nurse, Pudd would call her kittens to her with a special call, a sotto voce purr/gurr.  They would come running and snuggle up for the evening meal.  But one evening, one of the kittens did not heed Pudd's call.  Pudd removed herself from her litter, sauntered over to the disobedient kitten, picked her up by the scruff of the neck, carried her up the 16 stairs and down the hallway into the closet where the kitten had been born several weeks earlier, plunked the kitten down, sat on top of her kitten, and after 20 minutes, picked the kitten up by the scruff of the neck, carried her down the 16 stairs back to the dining room, placed her in the feeding basket, called the three obedient kittens to the basket, and fed all four kittens their evening nursing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Teaching Pudd: To sharpen or not to sharpen?

During this past Thanksgiving weekend, Karoun reminded Marash Girl of an important lesson, a lesson Marash Girl tried to teach the beloved family cat, Pudd, a lesson Marash Girl learned for herself.

Pudd had a habit of stretching up to sharpen her claws on the arm of the sofa chair that sat next to the front door, a chair which had been a wedding present from Marash Girl's father (Peter) and mother (Jennie).  Whenever Pudd sharpened her claws on this sofa chair, Marash Girl would reprimand the cat with a loud 'No!', pick up the cat and unceremoniously toss her outside.

What Marash Girl hoped to teach Pudd was NOT to scratch the furniture.  What she actually taught Pudd was that whenever Pudd wanted to go outside, all Pudd had to do was stretch up and sharpen her claws on the arm of the beloved sofa chair!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Smiling or Snarling? That is the question!

Walking down the street yesterday in the mid-day sunshine, Marash Girl smiled at a stranger.  The stranger, true to Newton Corner form, did not return the smile.  It got Marash Girl to wondering.  When humans smile to be friendly, they bare their teeth.  When animals snarl to warn off the approach of would be enemies, they bare their teeth.  Is that why the stranger didn't return the smile?  Did s/he think that Marash Girl was attempting to ward off an enemy rather than befriend a stranger?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chunked Tomato Cucumber Salad

Ripe tomatoes, Armenian cucumbers (the long skinny ones), fresh mint, pitted kalamata olives, chunks of good feta cheese, good olive oil, good red wine vinegar with a garlic clove that's been steeping in it for several weeks.

Unlike most Armenian salads which are chopped very fine, this salad gains its appeal to the eyes and the palate because each large piece is visible and distinguishable from its neighbor.  On special request from Meghan, we tried it.

Peel the cucumbers.  Wash the tomatoes and remove the stem end.
Wash and dry the fresh mint; remove the leaves from the stem and root before washing.

Chunk the tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese in 1 inch cubes.  Place tomatoes and cucumbers in serving bowl, leaving feta cheese aside.  To the tomatoes and cucumbers, add finely chopped fresh mint and pitted Kalamata olives that have been cut in half.  Just before serving, add your home made dressing of a good olive oil, a good red wine vinegar, in which has been steeped a garlic clove, kosher salt.  Toss.  THEN add feta cheese and lift salad carefully to incorporate the feta cheese without causing cheese to crumble, so as not to leave feta crumbs all over the tomatoes.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!


The salad described above was the most popular dish at Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Marash Girl's Turkey Soup, the old-fashioned way . . .

What do you do with all that boulghour pilaf, rice pilaf, pepper dolma, cabbage salad dressed in wine vinegar and olive oil, lettuce and tomato salad, mushrooms, broccoli, and, yes, turkey?

Marash Girl tells all.  Boil all the turkey that's left, carcass, skin, bones, and broth at the bottom of the roasting pan, leaving all in the original roasting pan.  (Break up the carcass so that you do not have to use as much water when you barely cover the carcass with water.) Add a tablespoon of white vinegar (to encourage the calcium out of the bones into the broth -- a tip for which to this day Marash Girl gives thanks to Hermineh), bring all to a boil, and simmer for 1 hour.  There's your broth!  Pour off the broth into a soup pot, skim off the fat (or leave the broth in the fridge for a day and the fat will harden making it easier to remove), add your leftovers (all except for the butternut squash which can be overwhelming), and you'll have an almost instant, and most delicious soup that can never be reproduced.  

Every once in a while, Marash Girl's friend complains that she can never reproduce Marash Girl's soups.  She is comforted by the fact that Marash Girl, herself, cannot reproduce them.  They are one of a kind soups, the way folks made soups in the olden days!  And they are delicious.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A THANKSGIVING WISH BONE GAME, ARMENIAN STYLE

A THANKSGIVING WISH BONE GAME, ARMENIAN STYLE  
As recalled by visiting blogger Kenar Charkoudian

Whenever the family had a turkey for dinner, especially at Thanksgiving, or perhaps chicken on Sunday in the days of “Chicken in Every Pot,” the children would vie for the wishbone.  A lucky recipient of the wishbone would easily find a partner with whom to play the game of Yades. 
In this game the two participants would pull on the wishbone until it broke in two.  The player who got the longer end of the wishbone, the winner, would call out, "Yades."   The person who got the short end of the wishbone would have to fulfill an obligation the two had agreed upon prior to the pulling.  The obligation might be performing some kind of service for the other such as drying the dishes in his/her place for a week, or giving him/her 5 of your favorite bird cards, or another similar obligation.   This obligation could be avoided if the loser says, “Mitkes eh!”  (i.e. “I remember,”  “It’s still on my mind,”) any and every time the winner hands him/her something.  If s/he takes the handed object before saying "Mitkes eh", s/he loses the game and the obligation must be fulfilled.  On the day the game starts, the winner will often look for objects to casually hand the loser, but the loser is still wise that first day. 
Eventually both players forget about the game and go about their regular day without consequence.  However, sometimes, out of the blue, days or weeks after the game began, the winner remembers the deal, and hands the loser an object.  Receiving no proper response, she calls out Yades! and the game’s obligation has to be fulfilled.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tomorrow we gather together to give thanks,

to give thanks for our homes, our families, the food on our tables, and
the freedom to enjoy our homes, our families, and to share the food on our tables.

This past weekend, while Marash Girl was in New York City, she invited her son and his friends to Kafana, a Serbian restaurant on Avenue C in New York's Lower East Side. Her favorite dish at that restaurant was their Beet Salad.  What?  Uncooked beets in a salad, you ask?  Marash Girl had never tasted fresh beet salad before, but she loved it, so she decided to fight the crowds at her local green grocer's yesterday and try to recreate the salad on her own.  She bought a gigantic beet (probably one pound in and of itself), thinking it would be easier to prepare, less difficult to peel.  Wrong.  Once peeled, the beet was almost impossible to cut through.  [Better to try this recipe with several small beets.] Here is what she did.  She peeled the beet, sliced it into strips (with Marash Boy's assistance) and shredded the beet, using her Cuisinart with the appropriate shredding attachment.  To the now shredded beets, she added olive oil, a good wine vinegar that had had a garlic clove sitting in it for a week or two, and Kosher salt.  That was it.  She tested her efforts by serving the Beet Salad to Marash Boy who is not a beet enthusiast.  "This tastes like a relish," he said as he took a second helping.

As it turns out, the salad Marash Girl ate at Kafana's was not a fresh beet salad, but rather a fresh Celery Root and Beet Salad, and so the salad Marash Girl created was her own, and not at all a recreation of the salad she had eaten at Kafana's.  Next trip to the green grocer's she'll have to check out the Celery Root and try again.  But in the meantime, she and her guests (and, perhaps, dear reader, you and your guests) will enjoy the fresh beet salad all weekend . . . or for as long as it lasts . . .

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monopoly: The Game

Does a child need a teacher who will encourage  learning and exploring the unknown?  Most of us would answer yes to that question.  Marash Girl, for one, would shout yes.  And therefore Marash Girl was pleased when, on asking her grandchild to play Monopoly, her grandchild replied, "Yes, I've played before."  Fine, so they began to play and when her grandchild landed on a property, Marash Girl explained how to buy properties and build houses.  Her grandchild replied, "Oh, my teacher said we shouldn't buy houses when we play because it's too complicated." Guess the teacher meant that it was too complicated for the teacher, because Grandchild caught on immediately, and went on to win that game of Monopoly!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Applesauce, the old-fashioned way

Remember these apples, the wild apples Marash Girl gathered while at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont? Returning from New York City late Saturday night, Marash Girl decided that Sunday was the day to prepare  those all natural, organically grown (by God) apples, turning them into all natural apple sauce for the Thanksgiving table!  Planning ahead, (not one of Marash Girl's strengths), as soon as she had gathered the apples, she had ordered a replacement for the food mill that was lost in the tornado in June, and by the time she returned from New York City, the food mill (made of stainless steel, of course) was waiting to do its thing, which in this case was to assist Marash Girl in the making of all natural apple sauce!  Marash Girl started by washing all the apples with water, removing any bruises (from their fall to the ground), cutting the apples in half, removing the dried brown blossom left at the base of the apples (to avoid any possibility of dark specks going through the food mill into the applesauce).  She then placed all the apples in a heavy pot with about an inch of boiling water (or you could try all natural apple cider for the liquid) at the bottom of the pot and simmered the apples for about 15 minutes, or until they were soft. (See below.)

She placed the food mill securely on a large pot and placed the cooked softened apples into the food mill, a cup or two at a time.  Every so often she removed the residue at the bottom of the food mill by turning the handle in reverse, discarding the residue into the compost, and starting anew with another batch of cooked apples.  The resulting applesauce (see below) is tart and delicious, but sugar can be added if your family prefers sweet applesauce.    This applesauce will be covered and refrigerated until Thanksgiving. If you make as much applesauce as Marash Girl did, you may want to freeze some of it for Christmas!
The color of the applesauce reflects the various colors of the apples used to make the sauce.  Stirring will make the sauce uniform in color, should that be your preference.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

PHOTOS OF OCCUPY WALL STREET DAY OF ACTION, Manhattan, New York City

Marash Girl joined Occupy Wall Street Day of Action (New York City), speed walking while trying to take photos of signs held by OWS on  their Day of Action as they marched down 7th Avenue and Broadway via Foley Square on their way to the Brooklyn Bridge.
"STUDENTS & WORKERS - TAKE THE CITY BACK!"

A scarfed Muslim woman carries a sign reading, "The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. . . "


"Pepper spray, racist brutality . . ."

As it started getting dark, a supporter of the march waved the American flag and a sign alerting folks to "Wake up!"

Other bystanders carried video cameras to record the moment.

Robed man on left carries small sign: "General Seminary."  Robed man in center carries sign stating, "In my tradition, we wear this Funan black dress when we suspect that we are  in the midst of something holy."  And woman to right carries sign stating, "Amen. This is what church looks like.  God occupies!"

"Our lives are worth more than their profits" states the sign held high by demonstrator as he passes New York's Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

"The maddest of all:  To see life as it IS and not as it SHOULD BE" . . . Miguel de Cervantes



Occupy Wall Street demonstrators walking south as the sun sets.
Marash Girl was a photo op for this fellow 'shooting' from the sidelines.
Police presence threatens as OWS marchers approach Foley Square.

Massive police presence at Foley Square.  What you cannot see are the bullhorns, the phalanx of mounted police and the huge numbers of New York's finest on foot protecting the 99% . . .  or are they?  Reminds Marash Girl of a chant from the '60's:  Which side are you on, boys, which side are you on?

Leaving Foley Square, Marash Girl comes to a street vendor selling American Flags and Obama signs to tourists.

From the roof of 99 John Street, Marash Girl could just about see the OWSers marching across Brooklyn Bridge.

If protesters have not made their point,  this sign on John Street makes it for them!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET'S DAY OF ACTION - THE NEXT DAY

Be careful, they both said; there's going to be trouble tomorrow!  Such was the warning Marash Girl received from both brother (Jacksonville, Florida) and sister (Dallas, Texas), a warning which was for naught.  New York City lacked the excitement of the 99% marching through the streets, as well as the threat of New York's finest hovering along the walkways of New York's Financial District.  All was quiet on the Northeastern front of Lower Manhattan yesterday, the day following OWS's Day of Action.  One can only assume that both brother and sister were getting their information from the local affiliate for Fox 5 which features morning anchor, Greg Kelly, the son of New York City's Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's Day of Action, November 17, 2011 -- Marash Girl marches with OCCUPY WALL STREET's Day of Action in NYC

November 17, 2011, New York City.

Walking down 7th Avenue from 34th Street at 4:30 in the afternoon (in an effort to avoid getting stuck in traffic because of Occupy Wall Street’s DAY OF ACTION), Marash Girl saw a huge American flag and heard the roar of the chant:  THIS is democracy, THIS is democracy.  She had walked south to about 14th Street when she found herself in the middle of 7th Avenue, literally, surrounded by thousands of folks ahead of her, thousands of folks behind her, not marching, but moving quickly, and sometimes running to catch up to the thousands ahead.

From sidewalk to sidewalk there were 15 to 20 people walking abreast as far as the eye could see – up and down 7th Avenue, amidst the cars, limos, taxis, buses, trucks (many of whom were smiling and calling out words of encouragement)  . . . the demonstrators shouting slogans – Whose Street? Our Street! and Wall Street? Our Street!  and We are the 99%. So are you!

Join us! Join us! these clean,  combed, beardless, neatly dressed young people called to the folks cheering on the sidelines.  One young woman called back, "I want to join you, but I don’t want to get arrested!" Very few walkers were from the 1960’s . . . most were the age of their children and grandchildren.  Yesterday there was no singing, just chanting.  And the occasional chant of 'SHAME, SHAME' as the group passed a NYC policeman who was trying to do his job.  As Marash Girl trekked along with the crowds, she recalled the chants of the past:  "What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!"  But those were not the chants of yesterday.  These were:

"Democracy? THIS is democracy."  And "Banks got Bailed out, we got sold out."

As the OWS walked south on 7th Avenue, a man threw wet paper towels down at the demonstrators – yelling, ‘GET A JOB’, missing the very point.  The woman to the right of Marash Girl snarled, let him come down here and say that!  There are no jobs!  And later, as Marash Girl walked down Broadway, a young woman pushing a baby carriage (she was tall and elegantly dressed) stated (not asked), Why don’t they get a job!  Marash Girl, thinking it was a sincere question,  answered, There are no jobs. That’s the point!  The mother answered in a huff: let them take the jobs of the illegal immigrants. Let them clean houses. They think they’re too good for that!   I live here and I can’t even get home, she said, as she hurried south along the eastern edge of Tribeca with her baby in the most expensive stroller Marash Girl has ever seen! 

Marash Girl left the demonstrators at Foley Square where the demonstrators had gathered and were being addressed through bullhorns both by their leaders as well as by police.  She was warned by one of the demonstrators that if she didn’t want to get arrested, she’d better walk "that a way", as he pointed west toward Broadway.  Not seriously fearing arrest, but having run out of time (she was to meet her son at 5:30), she left the group behind her, as a phalanx of mounted police paraded west on Worth Street past Foley Square, towards Broadway.  Marash Girl wasn't sure just how safe she felt as she passed grim-faced NYC police officers lining both sides of the sidewalk (every 10 feet) as she walked south on Broadway. She saw no newspaper reporters.

Later, Marash Girl checked the local TV coverage and heard from the folks that were inconvenienced because they couldn’t get across the street as quickly as they liked.  Saying there were less than 1000 marching, Bloomberg obviously hadn't looked out his window; either that, or he had never learned how to count real people.  The OWS protestors had taken over the roads and the powers that be hadn’t stopped them.  At least as long as Marash Girl was there to protect them!