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!)


  1. My grandmother Ashken Terlemezian Janoian a dear friend of Rose's mother, Rose and the family used to take me (Laura Coyle) to Rose's house when I was very young...I have such fond memories of all the goodies & traditions steeped in those early visits now forever in my memories.

    1. The Armenian Women's Educational Club of Watertown really lucked out having Rose as a member! Imagine what delicacies were offered them when they met at HER house!