Thursday, March 31, 2011


Potatoes and onions -- that's all Marash Girl had left in the larder -- and the refrigerator was nearly empty (on purpose) as she would be leaving home for a week, and didn't want to return to rot. Oh.  And a few eggs still in the carton.  So what to make for supper?

Recently, Marash Girl took a friend for a tour of the houses along Franklin Street in Newton Corner. Gazing in awe at the elaborate homes that graced the street on either side, Marash Girl's friend related the following tale -- (can't imagine what on this street called to his mind potatoes and onions). . . "One day my wife was at her wits end as to what to cook for supper.  Finally, in desperation, she  just chopped up some potatoes and onions, fried them in a pan, and dropped eggs over them.  The fragrance (and it was fragrance for me)  filled me with joy -- I hadn't eaten that meal for supper since I was a kid.  It was at that moment that I realized how happy I was that I married her."

 Take heed, girls.  As Marash Girl always says, "The way to a man's heart . . . ."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Packing for LA, Marash Girl feels a sense of mounting excitement as she completes task after task, and with two words, intones a phrase that her ancestors in Marash must have sung for centuries:  Oda bitdi! A joyous sense of accomplishment accompanies those two words:  that (too)  is done!  Can translate the words but not the feeling of happiness and accomplishment that the words convey.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


"Never Talk Issues -- Sing a Song!"  So inscribed Billy Bulger on my copy (the first edition) of his book, WHILE THE MUSIC LASTS: MY LIFE IN POLITICS, at a booksigning held last week at the Harvard Club in Boston.  Billy Bulger and my mother had the same philosophy.  Keep them laughing -- or as my father would say (although he always talked issues), Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone!

Monday, March 28, 2011


We just planted our peas (actually before St. Patrick's Day) and now we're off to the Farmer's Market on the first day of Spring! Yay! My sister is at Confirmation Class which is why she couldn't come with us.
I didn't grow these, but maybe someday I will, and I do have peas planted, if the deer don't get them!
GIANT EGYPTIAN PAPYRUS - Is this really what the Egyptians made paper out of?
      Ama loves signs, so I let her take pictures of all of the signs at the Farmer's Market; after all, she's just a tourist!

And I really love dogs, but little ones!
Did you know that you can use your credit card at our Farmer's Market?
That's what I learned when I asked this woman if I could play with some of her wooden nickels and she said no!

We always buy local if we can; we belong to the Takoma Park Co-Op!

I loved tasting the cheese, but I loved the little plastic spoons even more! Ama said I could keep mine.

Ama thinks these mushrooms are beautiful -- yuk! I'm glad I don't have to eat them!

I wish we didn't eat breakfast before we came, but I was hungry!
I want to hold that little lamb!

Walking to the Farmer's Market, I found this at a yard sale, a yard sale where everything was free!

Ama loves apples because Otro Baba and Uncle Paul used to grow them in her backyard when she was growing up!
I asked the man how many goats he had; he said 400! I asked him if he brought any of his goats with him, or if I could visit the goats on his farm; the answer was no, unless Ama could take me there when I was supposed to be in school!  That's okay; I'll go visit the goats in Monson, Massachusetts, this summer.
A lot of walking and playing and I think I'll just take a nap.  Kisher Pari!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


At an elegant party in Washington, DC, soon after her trip to Egypt, Marash Girl met a fashionable woman whose name was Marion, and who, when she learned Marash Girl was Armenian, plied her with questions for the next hour -- Marion was fascinated, not by Marash Girl's trip to the Middle East, but rather by the fact that Marash Girl knew how to prepare eggplant in a multiplicity of ways.  Marion's favorite vegetable was eggplant, which was rarely served in Washington society. She hungrily sought new ways to prepare the exotic eggplant at her Washington parties.

Upon checking a week ago Saturday, I was reminded of Washington's Marion, the lover of eggplant, and, in memory of Marion, Marash Girl decided to present you today with yet another (see recipe for babaghanoush) eggplant recipe,  the eggplant salad that her Marashtsi mother-in-law Azniv used to love to prepare in the summer, when she could get fresh tomatoes and parsley from her garden and broil fresh eggplant on the fireplace in Wilbraham.  For a delicious cold eggplant salad that can be made ahead and served any time, here's what she did.

Whenever Medzmama was preparing the fire for shish kebab, a fire that would have to burn down to be of any use in her cooking of the shish kebab, she would throw an eggplant or two on the iron cover that she used to put over the fire in its early very hot stages, i.e., before it had burned down to coals suitable for cooking shish kebab.  When the eggplant was very soft to the touch, she would remove it, and when it cooled (or even before -- Medzmama would pride herself on being able to handle hot vegetables right off the fire), remove the pulp (or peel off the blackened skin, whichever was easier,) and mash the eggplant pulp with a fork. While the eggplant was cooking, or earlier, or later, she would chop lots of fresh tomatoes, fresh parsley, fresh green peppers (though I omit the peppers), fresh scallions or chives, (fresh in her case usually meant fresh from her garden in Wilbraham), and the juice of one lemon or two lime freshly squeezed.  (If you didn't get the hint, fresh is the operative word here!) When the eggplant was room temperature, she would add the already prepared  chopped vegetables to the eggplant pulp along with salt, freshly ground black pepper, Aintab red pepper to taste (and I always add a bit of olive oil although she did not). She would serve this salad room temperature or cold for a wonderful (and unusual) summer salad.  You can tell that I can't wait until summer comes . . .

If you must prepare this eggplant salad but have no fireplace at your disposal, simply throw your eggplant in the oven with whatever you are roasting, or alone at a very high temperature, and continue  as described above.  Comment below on how it comes out, and thank Medzmama!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It was time for breakfast and Marash Girl was hungry, away from home, visiting in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Because it was a beautiful spring day, Marash Girl and her entourage decided to walk to breakfast starting from the historic Apremont Triangle (named for the Battle at Apremont in which the Americans helped the French win during World War One) through downtown Springfield, to the new site for the much touted Dillweedz Cafe, a casual breakfast place that she had not as yet visited, a cafe which recently moved to its new location and opened its doors across from the historic Springfield Courthouse.  Could it be as good as her daughter said it was?  She would soon find out!  Luckily she had her camera with her so she decided
to photograph the Springfield skyline -- an interesting skyline made famous in the Dr. Seuss children's books.
Although the only sunshine she saw was on the side of the building pictured above,
                   the slightly overcast day allowed for reflections of the old in the new . . . . (above)
                 and the new in the old  (above). . .  even a sea gull,  hovering above us between the old and the new, could not quite decide which it preferred.

Eddie Boland was still watching over his city (above).

Above, an art exhibit of statuesque basketball sneakers in the birthplace of  basketball and the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

We were reminded of basketball by the  beautifully paved crosswalks, works of art in and of themselves!

 Founded in 1637, Old First Church is the oldest church in Western Massachusetts, and among the oldest in the United States. At the time of its incorporation, the Church counted among its membership every resident of Springfield. The current Meeting House, completed in 1819, was designated as a state historical landmark in 1971 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. In fact, the church's historical significance cannot be overstated-in addition to its integral role in the birth of the Springfield, the church provided a stop along the Underground Railroad, and played host to famed statesman Daniel Webster, and abolitionist John Brown. Upon his death in 1848, the body of President John Quincy Adams lay in State at Old First Church.  . . Courtesy of MAUREEN STACCATO, Springfield, MA

The lions still guard the fountain in the park. (above & below)

Miles Morgan, An Early Settler
MORGAN, Miles, soldier, born in Bristol, England, in 1616; died in Llandaff, Wales, 28 May, 1699. Being a younger son and of venturesome disposition he conceived the idea of joining one of the many vessels that conveyed emigrants to America from his native town. He arrived on one of these at Boston in April, 1636, and soon afterward penetrated, with an expedition headed by a Colonel Pyratreon, into the wilderness, and settled at what is now Springfield, Massachusetts, building for himself a fortified block-house on the bank of Connecticut river on the site that is now occupied by the car-shops of the Connecticut River railroad. Soon after settling in Springfield he married Prudence Gilbert, a fellow-passenger on the voyage from Bristol. At the sack of Springfield, Captain Morgan's block-house became the fortress of the place, and, after the burning of the settlement, held out until messengers had been despatched to Hadley, and thirty-six men (the standing army of the colony of Massachusetts bay), under command of Captain Samuel Apple ton, marched to Springfield and raised the siege. A colossal bronze statue of Captain Miles Morgan, which stands in the court, house square of Springfield, shows him in huntsman's dress, jack-boots, and cocked hat, with a rifle over his shoulder. . . 
Courtesy of
Potential in Springfield, Massachusetts - "The sky's the limit!"

Above: Courthouse Walk

Detail on building along Courthouse Walk.
And at the end of Courthouse Walk, the new location for Dillweedz Cafe!  Yay! Breakfast is in the offing!
The printed menu did not begin to elaborate the unending possibilities for breakfast which are chalked on blackboards daily.
Dillweedz commitment to environmental responsibility matches its commitment to humor but most importantly its commitment to delicious food made, as we used to say in the old days, from scratch!

The sign above is posted next to the Rest Rooms! (See what I mean about sense of humor?)
The clientele, to the person, is pleased with the ambience and the food, and that includes us!
What possibilities there were, and it didn't matter what choice we made, all the choices were delicious! (Yes, Marash Girl begged tastes off of anyone she could!)

The unending possibilities

          Omelettes? Whatever your heart desires.

 And although the ambience is casual, the service comes with a smile!

At the counter at Dillweedz - fresh coffee all day!
The hooter line zings in Dillweedz Cafe as Springfield's Karoun (of Karoun Yoga) tries her hand at reading the latest order whizzed down the line to the fast order cook.  

Chris, the owner of Dillweedz, is camera shy as you can see (above), and likes to keep a low profile, but as we were leaving, he talked with us for a few moments.
We felt the supportive presence of Springfield's successful past bringing good energy to this cafe. Newly located at 91 State Street,  the cafe is steeped in the spirit of Springfield abundance from the days of yore, the spirit that brings the prosperity of the Springfield of old to the Springfield of today, and to Dillweedz Cafe.  

Walk over and see for yourself.

Dillweedz Cafe at 91 State Street in Downtown Springfield, Massachusetts