Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Blue Dolphin and the Nuns in Black

Walking past Rowe's Wharf on the Boston waterfront brought back the vivid memory of an art opening at the Blue Dolphin in the late 1960's.  Appproaching the gallery on that early summer evening long ago, Marash Girl and Marash Boy were met by nuns in black habit fleeing out the door of the Blue Dolphin. Whatever could be going on?  Entering the art gallery, and wandering into the back rooms, (where Marash Boy insists there were still some nuns in black habits, tittering as they viewed the paintings,) Marash Girl viewed painting after painting of nude males in various positions of lust and ludity . . . .or rather nudity . . .

"What ever happened?  Why would nuns be attending the opening of such a show?" Marash Girl asked the owner.

"We mailed out the announcements to the wrong list!" wailed the owner.

[Sorry!  No photos!]

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Conversation Between Third Cousins

M.G.: "My father always used to say, 'You have to eat a pound of dirt before you die!'"

Stephanie:  "My grandmother used to say that!"

M.G. "And this sentence rings in my ears every time I'm looking for something:  'You wouldn't be able to find your head if it wasn't attached!'"

Stephanie: "My mother used to tell me that, too!'

Cousins, cousins!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Even the rocks will cry out . . . and the trucks!

Driving along the Massachusetts Turnpike . . . Even the trucks cry out!  Photo by Marash Girl

Luke 19:28-40
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,  30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.  31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.  33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.  36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. (From John 12, we discover they came with Palm Branches along with their coats.)
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the 
Lord!”“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Overheard: The Potter's Shed, Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Potter, Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Photo by Marash Girl
"Can I have one of your pots?" asked the little boy, intrigued with what he saw being shaped from a lump of clay.  

"Sure . . .," answered the old potter.  "Can you come milk my cows in the morning?  That would earn you a pot!" 

 "Now there's a novel idea for earning your allowance," quipped the hopeful boy's mother.

But the boy, unphased, answered without pause, "If you get a cow, I'll milk it!"    

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

GRAPHY JERRY against the Wall - Northampton, Massachusetts

"Long Live Graphy Jerry"  Photo by Marash Girl

Who is Graphy Jerry and why is he celebrated on this back wall in Northampton, Massachusetts?  
Marash Girl thinks that this could be an image of Jerry Garcia. What are your thoughts, dear reader?

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Apprivoiser": More Handwriting on the Wall - Northampton, Massachusetts

"Apprivoiser" veut dire "creer des liens."    Photo by Marash Girl

Written in chalk on a back brick wall in Northampton, Massachusetts, is the above quotation from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince -- translated, it means, "To tame or domesticate means to create links or ties."  When the little prince is talking to the fox, the fox says (and here Marash Girl is paraphrasing), "In order for me to become friends with you, you have to create ties with me, you have to tame me . . . "  "Well, what does that mean?" asks the Little Prince.  The fox answers,  "Every day you have to come at the same hour, and every day you must come a little bit closer to me until you tame me. . .  "

Why did a chalker take the time to stop and scratch "Apprivoiser veut dire creer des liens" onto the brick?  Only because s/he happened to have a piece of chalk in the right hand and a brick wall on the left? Who, we should ask the chalker, is the prince, and who, dear chalker, is the fox? Or, as the little prince asked, "What does it mean?"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Handwriting on the Wall - Northampton, Massachusetts

"Norwottuck Land -- Go Home Bastaniak"   Northampton, Massachusetts, August 24, 2013
Photo by Marash Girl 

 "The Native American settlement at what is now Northampton was called Norwottuck, or Nonotuck, meaning: "the midst of the river." It consisted of a core area where clan meetings and elders' councils were held. This area included communal cemeteries and probably sweat lodges used for curing. The meadows were planted with maize, beans and squash. Throughout the homeland area stood dozens of wigwams, sometimes in small hamlets. An extensive network of paths joined each clan's members and connected Norwottuck peoples to their kin who lived in nearby homelands centered around present-day Hadley, Deerfield and Northfield. The Norwottuck homeland also included several small, fortified areas, one of which was located on what is now called Fort Hill."  . . . . from Historic Northampton

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sergi and the Tabasco Sauce Solution

Riddling the last week of fun and games with Iffar and Elina was a joke about the fly in the soup . . .

Customer in restaurant:  Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?

Waiter:  It looks like it's doing the back stroke.

The joke, no matter how many times it was told at the table on the front porch, brought forth gales of laughter from the little ones who told it.  Perhaps because they had just returned from summer camp where there had been plenty of flies; perhaps because they had just spent a week doing the back stroke. Hopefully not because they had seen flies in their soup.

None the less, when Marash Girl and Ranek were having lunch at Legal Seafoods in Framingham, a black fly insisted on visiting their table.

"Waiter, there's a fly buzzing around our table."  The waiter, rather than suggesting that the fly was doing loop-de-loops to entertain us, simply answered, "I'll get the Tabasco Sauce."  

Nonplussed, Ranek and Marash Girl looked at each other, and at the fly as it continued to loop-de-loop around the corner table at which they were seated.

Soon the waiter returned with a saucer that had been splashed with a teaspoonful of Tabasco Sauce.  He placed the saucer on the table, and . . . .

The fly fled .  . . And never returned.  

Can anyone out there explain the chemistry of this miracle cure?

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Garden Water Faucet Handle That Disappeared

And speaking of gardens growing (weren't you?), how can they grow without water?  And how can they be watered without a water faucet during a long dry spell?  And how can anyone open a faucet without a handle? That was Marash Girl's plight this morning as her outdoor water faucet flew off its handle (literally) and was nowhere to be found.  After searching (literally) high and low, Marash Girl headed to her local hardware store (yes, there's still a local hardware store in Newton Corner) and bought another water faucet handle, this time, a red one.
The new red water faucet handle.
Unfortunately, the nut securing the faucet handle had "flown the coup" as well, and the nut Marash Girl had purchased from the hardware store did not fit on the bolt securing the water faucet;  the faucet handle worked without the nut, however, and thus she was (finally) able to turn off the water that was giving sustenance to (and at this point nearly drowning) her garden.   Concerned that the handle would once again fly away, Marash Girl reported her plight to Marash Boy. 

"Don't worry, he said. Just put the handle in your pocket. . . "

"In my pocket?" Marash Girl answered, nonplussed.   

"Sure," answered Marash Boy who had worked in the city for many years. "In the inner city, folks never leave the water faucet handles on the outdoor faucets  . . . they take the handles with them . . . "

"Why is that?" Marash Girl queried.

"So that neighborhood kids won't turn the water on!"

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On Shaking Hands, Part II

Is shaking hands a  gesture of friendship or a gesture of power?  The thought occurred to Marash Girl as she remembered her father,  a 95 year old man at the time, who had a 40 year old hulk crying for mercy crumbled to the ground, just because the young man had crossed the 95 year old man and, on attempting to make up, had not had the sense to shake hands as men should, and as Marash Girl's father had always taught -- with his hand all the way in.
"When you shake hands, place your hand all the way in to the web at the thumb of the other hand, web to web, or you'll risk having your hand crushed." So taught the man with the iron grip, Marash Girl's dad.  "If you don't do as I suggest, you can, at will, crush the other hand, or the other hand may crush yours."

(See Marash Girl's earlier post "On Shaking Hands".)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"How does your garden grow?"

On a recent visit to Sturbridge Village, Marash Boy called out to the farmer,
 "What are you growing there?"

Without pause, the 19th Century farmer answered, "Potatoes . . . and weeds!"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Medzmama & Bela Bartok

Many years ago, Marash Boy and Jivan Tabibian were sitting in the living room at 17 Dearborn Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, vociferously sharing their admiration for Bela Bartok.  Medzmama,  preparing their dinner in the kitchen, overhearing the conversation taking place two rooms away, called out, (in Armenian of course), "Why don't you invite him for shish kebab?"

Marash Boy never tires of telling the tale!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Medzmama and King Arthur

Medzmama made the best Armenian pastries, all by hand (and arms), all from scratch.  She made the best Italian loaf bread.  And she always started with King Arthur Flour.  When friends came over to learn her secrets, she gladly shared all she knew, including the fact that she used King Arthur Flour.  They tried, following her directions, and failed.  Time and time again.  She went over the recipe and reviewed procedure with them as often as they asked, step by step, but to no avail.  They're bread never came out the same.  

Today, walking through the supermarket to purchase King Arthur Flour, and spying the 5 and 10 pound bags, I was reminded of the secret, the reason Medzmama's imitators always failed.  As instructed by her, they purchased and used King Arthur Flour when attempting to follow Medzmama's recipes, yes.  Medzmama purchased and used King Arthur Flour for all that she baked, yes.  But apparently, back in the day, the flour in the 25 pound bags of King Arthur Flour that Medzmama used was not the same flour as the flour in the 5 pound bags that her would be imitators used, and that is what made the difference!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

She was tougher!

As Marash Girl struggled to remove stains from her white cotton summer pants this morning before throwing them into the washing machine, she remembered Medzmama, an Armenian "survivor" from Marash, who, when told by her family on wash day that the stain on their clothing was tough and that she might not be able to get it out, answered:  I'm tougher.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What? No blog post today?

Sorry, we can't write right now ( or is it right write now)!  We're busy making waffles, even though Marash Girl's favorite granddaughter doesn't like them!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Iffar and Enila visit the Springfield Museum Complex, Springfield, Massachusetts

  Visiting blogger Enila writes . . .
     While looking thru the window of the butterfly exhibit at the Springfield Museum complex, we were confronted by a young guard who accused us of sneaking into the museum -- Why?  Because we were not wearing stickers.  Immediately feeling guilty, although we had no reason to, we turned back to go to the front desk so that the guard there could confirm that we were members . . . on the way, we were diverted by the goodies in the gift shop, or should I say the gifties in the goods shop . . . As we drooled over all of the overpriced items that were for sale, knowing that once they got home, they would be immediately lost under our beds, the very same guard came up to us and gave us the stickers that we should have been wearing from the first moment that we walked into the exhibit hall.  Well, I guess we learned our lesson.

     Comforted by our stickers, we proceeded across the courtyard (passing the Dr. Seuss stick house on our way) to see the motorcycle exhibit.  Interested in the "action" that the exhibit offered all comers, we were able to try on the leather jackets, mount and pretend to ride an Indian Motorcycle, a motorcycle that had been manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts, by the famous, though now defunct, Indian Motorcycle Factory.   Photos to follow.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

$31,000 raised for the Takoma Park Community Kitchen

Visiting blogger Lorig writes to share the good news:

Thanks to all of you who contributed towards the building of the Takoma Park Silver Spring Community Kitchen.  $31,132 was raised from 216 donors, money which will be part of the required match  for the state bond bill, meaning that the $31,000 that the campaign raised leveraged another $31,00 in State of Maryland dollars.  We have now raised the full $400,000 we need and can begin construction! 

Once completed, this kitchen will create economic opportunity through micro-enterprise development:  it will increase access to fresh healthy food for our neighbors at risk of hunger; and it will provide a space for cooking and nutrition classes.  In all of these ways, the Kitchen will also build community. . .

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nine Man Morris, Plimoth Plantation style

 In appreciation for their delivering  his mid day meal to him from the village above, this workman rewarded the children by taking a break from his work to teach them the ancient game of 9 Man Morris, a game that needs no more than a stick to draw the board in the soil, and 18 stones, 9 white and 9 black. 
Above is the 'board' for 9 Man Morris.

The object of the game is to put 3 of your stones in a row, you may choose white stones or black, white goes first, on the intersection of the lines.  Taking turns, the first person to get three stones in a row without being blocked by the opponent wins the game. 

And just think!  You don't have to order the game online!  It's all right there for the asking!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Overheard at the Franklin Park Zoo

After wandering through acres of animals -- ostrich, kangaroo, lion, giraffe, gorilla, lemur, zebra, etc., etc., Marash Girl overheard a little boy exclaiming, "Look at all those animals, Daddy!" as he pointed to the merry-go-round!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Last month, Marash Girl wrote a post in support of an effort to build a community kitchen; as many of you were unaware of what a community kitchen is, she posted the following link:

To help raise money for the community kitchen, Lorig ran a 31 mil race up mountains and over treacherous landscape.  At her request, I am posting her description of this race, and her effort at raising funds for this worthy cause . . . Please continue to read, and if you so wish, please lend your support!

Lorig writes:

In the days approaching the 50K trail run, the self-doubt demons began to rear their ugly heads and voices.  What was I thinking?  31 miles?  4500 feet of climbing?  Would I make it before the 9 hour cut off?  Did I remember to pack my running shoes?
In those same days, the messages and support from the community poured in - in words and in money.  We raised several thousand for the community kitchen, bringing us up to $19,000.  I received public and private messages about the run.  On Tuesday, we had covered the entire front of my running shirt with supporters’ names.  By Friday, we had so many more we had to cover the back with names. 
By the time I arrived at the starting line, the community supporters were starting to win out over the demons. 
And then I got to start running.  First the 2,000 foot climb over the course of the first 6 miles.  Then a section of glorious trail that just begged you to run it.  It felt so good I kept telling myself I should probably slow down and save myself for later – but I couldn’t resist the trail’s invitation.  Then 2000 feet downhill.  Then another (rather rough) 2,000 foot climb and back on the glorious section.  Several miles passed in the proverbial “runner’s high”.  Other’s passed in the body’s amazing ability to keep functioning even when the brain does not.  I did not realize I was in this state until I reached the aid station and could not form a coherent sentence.  At one point I was moving a little too fast downhill, hit a root, and actually took flight.  The landing was not so glorious.   The last few miles were a bit rough.  I suddenly felt like I had nothing left to give.  I looked down at my shirt - ink was starting to run, I was covered in dirt – but there you all were, running along with me.  And it was enough to suck it up, dig deep, and get over the finish line in 5:36:10.  Community -1; Demons -0.
Thank you for your generous donations and your encouraging words. 
Now we have one more finish line to get across together.  On Aug 14, our Indiegogo campaign ends.  We have another $11,000 to raise between now and then to build the community kitchen.
As you know, the kitchen will support micro-enterprise development, cooking and nutrition classes, and food preparation for people at risk of hunger.  Please share this site and your excitement about this project with your circles.
Your support got me through.  Together we can build this kitchen.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A small reminder . . .

Walking out of her house yesterday morning,  Marash Girl spied a small reminder of what is soon to come.  Here she shares with you her first glimpse of Autumn 2013.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Florist Knows All

In a florist shop in Watertown, Massachusetts, Marash Girl overheard the following:

I'm among the first to know who's graduating, who's getting married, who's newly born, who's died. . . I send flowers to them all . . .

Friday, August 9, 2013

The earth is the largest pot . . .

Marash Girl has taken to growing avocado trees from seed . . . an effort popular in the 1970's but not so common in the 21st century. . . Everyone she knew in the day had a home grown avocado tree which measured anywhere from 3 to 6 feet, an avocado tree grown from pit, a tree reaching to the ceiling of their apartments, leaning towards the light (if the owner had forgotten to turn the tree on a regular basis). Whether the avocados are different today, or the pits are different, is a question regularly discussed (more generically) on public radio.

For those of you who'd like to try your hand at the skill, there's a whole book on growing avocado trees from seed, a book available at  The Avocado Pit Grower's Indoor How-to Book written by Hazel Perper in the 1960's, was a popular guide for those who would have a tree in their home for the price of a rotten avocado.  And it is true in Marash Girl's experience that in order to grow such a tree, one must begin with a rotten (or extremely overripe) avocado, the pit of which has already split, and hopefully has already begun to sprout root while still in the womb of the unopened avocado.  (The whole effort of growing avocados in living rooms was occurring on the east coast, while on the west coast, with no effort whatsoever, folks were growing avocado trees in their back yards which yearly were loaded with the most delicious avocados!)

Fast forward to 2013.  Marash Girl had successfully grown an avocado tree of 12 inches, and potted it in a very large decorative pot, a pot large enough to accommodate the tree when it was full grown, large enough so that the new owner would never have to repot as the plant grew. Marash Girl was so pleased with the tree, the potting, the pot . . . and so was the recipient, her daughter.  Placing the soon to be tree (though still small "pitling") next to the window, Marash Girl and her daughter gazed at the avocado "treeling" lovingly, but it wasn't long before a close relative, long-time gardener came into the room and proclaimed, "Why ever did you plant such a small thing in such a large pot?  That little plant needs to be slowly weaned from a small pot, to a larger pot, to a yet larger pot, as it grows . . . "  Marash Girl tried to explain that the reason for the large pot was to avoid all the transplantings, but she explained to no avail.  "Your little plant will not be able to grow in such a large pot; it needs that gradual transition from pot to pot to pot!"  A bit concerned, but unwilling to repot the avocado seedling, Marash Girl was telling the story to a friend, who commented, "Plantlings have no problem with large pots . . .  after all, the earth is the largest pot!"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who's calling the shots here?

Recently, Marash Girl overheard a discussion on personal responsibility 
which ended with the comment, "Sometimes you just have to help God!"
It reminded Marash Girl of the joke she posted several weeks ago:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Peter. You would be 101 years old today!

Searching the web for a recipe for Watermelon Rind Soup, a recipe which, by the way, she never found, the recipe for the soup that Peter used to tell us his mother made for them in Marash, Marash Girl looked up gabaklu on the web, and lo and behold, she found the following article (unsigned & uncredited) that she herself had written 7 years ago announcing the award that her father Peter had received from the Union of Marash Armenians in 2006!

Watertown Chapter

On   Saturday Jan 14, 2006, The Union of Marash Armenians, Watertown Chapter, celebrated Armenian Christmas and presented the Man of the Year Award to Peter Bilezikian, "Marash Man of the Year".
Peter accepts the congratulations of the Watertown Chapter, Union of Marash Armenians. Photo by Marash Girl
     Today we honor Peter Bilezikian, who at 93 and a half years old, lives a full and active life, sharing his stories and philosophy with those around him, a philosophy based on a lifetime of courage, hard work, dreams, and faith.

     Peter (Bedros) Bilezikian, strong, vibrant  and independent at 93, was born an American citizen in Marash, Western Armenia, Ottoman Empire, on August 7, 1912, the youngest child of Movses Bilezikian and Yepros Kurtguzian Bilezikian.

     In 1914, Peter's  father Movses returned to the United States with plans to have his family join him, but World War One broke out making communication between Movses and his family literally impossible;  Yepros was left alone to support and care for their four children and her younger sister Mary.

     The war years were difficult.  Rather than attend school, Peter would run to the mountains where he and his Armenian friends carried on their own slingshot war against the Turkish boys -- he still has a scar where a stone from the Turkish boys hit his forehead.

     Peter can never forget walking over dead people in the streets of Marash where he used to play, seeing children with stomachs bloated from hunger, witnessing the carts clearing the streets of dead bodies.  He often relates his close call with death when a bullet singed his cowlick. He remembers fleeing with his family from one house to another to another on a moment's notice in an effort to avoid being sent to Der Zor (the death camps) . . . Young Peter, however, saw all this as simply a part of life . . . and continued fearless through the streets of Marash.

     Unable to return to his family in Turkey because of the war, and not knowing whether or not they were still living, Movses, in the U.S. in 1921,  finally learned that his wife and children were indeed alive and well. With the help of Brewer Eddy, Executive Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions, Movses sent money to his family in Marash for their safe passage to the United States. In 1922, Yepros, all alone with only her children,  left Marash on foot to walk to Aleppo, with the two younger children (Peter and Rosie) in saddlebags on the sides of a burro.

     The family arrived in New York City where Peter's father Movses, and Uncle Manoog Bilezikjian (who lived in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY) met  them at the boat. Movses and his family departed on a train for Boston the very next day.  Peter's family first lived in Newtonville but soon moved to the more affordable `four castles' on Lincoln Street in Brighton (a third floor cold water flat with shared bathroom).

     From the age of ten, Peter worked every day after school and well into the night, contributing all of his earnings to the family. In 1928, the family moved to Arsenal Street in Watertown. When Peter graduated from Watertown High School (the first in his family to graduate from secondary school), he was given the opportunity to study for four years at M.I.T., all expenses paid, but had to decline in order to go to work and help support his family during the Great Depression. (He had always wanted to become a teacher, and though he never attained this goal, he made sure that his three children did, despite the fact that many old timers would advise him not to waste money educating daughters!)

     In 1933, Peter and his brother Paul established Newtonville Electrical Company, Inc. (sales, service and electrical contracting throughout all of New England).  The two brothers were Master Electricians, and Peter's specialty was heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning. Their business flourished in Newtonville, Massachusetts, for 50 years. [Peter rarely takes credit for being the instrumental and driving force in the many successful ventures and accomplishments of his life.]

     Peter and his family purchased and moved to his current home in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1935. In 1940, Peter married Lucille Mae (Jennie) Vartanian, the love of his life. They had three children, Bethel Charkoudian, Martha McCool, and James Bilezikian. Peter has 11 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren [now 4].

     Peter's favorite pastimes are reading and discussing philosophy, history, religion, and the comics! He's a master at crossword puzzles and tavlu (backgammon); he used to build furniture, and now loves to restore antique furniture; in fact, while in high school, he was 

recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts  for building an exact replica of an ornate 18th Century coach for which he won first prize in a statewide competition.

     His lifelong passion for gardening resulted in award-winning tomatoes which he grew from seed . . . the biggest tomatoes ever to be eaten this side of Marash!

     Peter has been a long-time staunch supporter of the Union of Marash Armenians in the Boston area. Although Peter never held any office within the Union, he personally helped many Marashti needy families, he sponsored Marashtsi students abroad for years  to help them get their education and he did all this without fanfare. Anytime a compatriot needed his services but could not pay him, he did the work cheerfully without pay.

     He is proud to be a Marashtzi, as are his children and grandchildren!

     Congratulations, Peter, on being selected the Marashtzi of the year.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How can you be married?

Overheard at a party . . .

Man gazing into the eyes of a beautiful woman:  "But how can you be married?  We've only just met!"

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Car wreck in Newton Corner?

Photo by Marash Girl
Yesterday, while on her morning walk, Marash Girl took the short cut she typically takes, walking behind her local fire station, rather than across the wide front driveway. (God forbid there should be a fire emergency while Marash Girl traversed the long skirt that fronts the neighborhood fire station.)   There, behind the fire station,  next to the Salvation Army donation box, a trashed car  lay on its back, its Massachusetts license plates still attached, its interior doused with water   . . . what in the . . . ????  Had someone dumped a car there as a donation to the Salvation Army?  As an ill advised joke? Had someone simply abandoned a car there after an accident?  Or had there been an accident right there, behind the fire station?  Marash Girl pondered as she continued her morning constitutional . . . . On her way back, this time walking across the front apron of the fire station, Marash Girl approached a fireman and asked, "Do you know that there's an abandoned car behind your fire station?" The fireman grinned at Marash Girl . . . "Not to worry . . .  it's only for practice, so that we know how to save folks when an automobile accident actually happens!"

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ichli Kufte and the College Girl

One evening, many years ago, at the house on Lowell Avenue, Dr. and Mrs. Wheeler visited Uncle Paul and Auntie Zabelle.  Auntie Zabelle had prepared ichli kufte for supper (one of Marash Girl's favorites, by the way . . . if you've never eaten it, you have a treat in store for you!)  Mrs. Wheeler, whose ancestors had arrived on these shores aboard the Mayflower and who had had the benefit of a college degree from a prestigious woman's college, began to eat the kufte.  This is delicious, she commented, but how did you get the stuffing inside of the kufte? she asked Auntie Zabelle.
Ichli Kufte cut in half
[Above image borrowed from the internet.]
"You went to Radcliffe," her husband commented dourly.  "You figure it out!"

Friday, August 2, 2013

Armenian String Cheese at the Truro Farmer's Market? Who knew!

Armenian String Cheese at the Truro Farmer's Market?  Marash Girl couldn't believe the words on the sign, nor could she accept the fact that the stand was, in fact,   selling real Armenian String Cheese. . . 

Ever the doubter (and much to the chagrin of her hostess), Marash Girl questioned the seller; Marash Girl had to know how the cheese was made, had to see the cheese, had to taste the cheese.  

Marash Girl asked how the cheese was made, and yes, it was made the way she had made it years ago (although this cheese had not been made by an ethnic Armenian).  Marash Girl looked at the cheese, and yes, it looked right, although not braided perfectly, nor braided into as large a mass as Armenian String Cheese is, typically, but then let's not be too particular.  Marash Girl tasted the cheese and, true to its promise, it was Armenian String Cheese, and, Marash Girl has to admit, so much fresher than the Armenian String Cheese that comes in from California -- almost as good as the Armenian String Cheese that Marash Girl and her compatriots made many years ago in a Winchester, Massachusetts, kitchen!

Conclusion:  If you're ever in Truro, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, on a Monday morning during the summer, be sure to drop by Fromage a Trois and ask for their Armenian String Cheese.  Tell them Marash Girl sent you!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hélène de Marseille offers Broccoli Cauliflower Cream Soup

Hélène de Marseille surprised Marash Girl last night with a bowl of the most delicious soup, soup made of necessity when Hélène's  brother arrived home from the farmer's market with a gigantic head of broccoli and an equally gigantic head of cauliflower . . . What to do?  Hélène de Marseille decided to create a soup that could be eaten cold in the heat of the summer or hot during a summer's thunder storm . . . Marash Girl just had some for supper and, she must write here that it was superb, or as they say in Marseille, supèrbe!

Marash Girl was so pleased with the soup, that she asked Hélène de Marseille to share the recipe, and here it is.

Broccoli Cauliflower Cream Soup a la Hélène de Marseille

1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
1 onion, peeled
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 stick of butter
3 cubes of chicken bouillon in water or 1 can of chicken consommé or 2 cups of homemade chicken broth (or, if you're a vegetarian, the equivalent in vegetable consommé

Bring chicken broth/consommé to a boil.  Rinse the broccoli and cauliflower and cut into small pieces, along with the peeled onion.  Add the cut up broccoli, cauliflower and onion to the chicken broth.  Simmer until mushy (about 45 minutes).  When almost cooked, add butter & nutmeg and salt if needed and a little white pepper.  Let cool; blend well in a blender or cuisinart.  The bouillon cubes are salty, but if you use consommé or homemade chicken broth, add salt to taste.

Marash Girl didn't have to do any of that.  All she did was heat up the soup Hélène de Marseille had brought her, but because it was too hot, and Marash Girl was hungry, Marash Girl added a tad of cream to the soup to cool it down, and that, as they say in Marseille, was the coup d'état!