Friday, September 27, 2013

The Bekmez Girl

A lavish display of wealth has always been favored by a certain group of folks . . . Americans label the display "Nouveau Riche", borrowing a French term.  Marashtsi Armenians need only comment, "the bekmez girl".

Many of the wealthy in Western Armenia, (the Western Armenians' term for Eastern Anatolia) owned vineyards outside of the cities in which they lived.  In the fall of every year, the vineyards would produce grapes in abundance, the crop far more than could be eaten by the populace in the countryside or the cities.  Thus bekmez would be made from the grapes -- a thick sweet syrup created by boiling down the grapes for days -- a syrup (similar to maple syrup) that would be used for sweetening throughout the year until autumn harvest.  Bekmez was expensive, and consumed by the wealthy in the rural areas, or shipped to the cities for sale to the urban wealthy.  The poor rarely had the opportunity to taste that delicious syrup.

Marash Girl is unable to remember the story told by Marashtsis about the "Bekmez Girl"; she remembers only the ending:  The peasant girl doesn't know what to do with the bekmez, so she wipes it all over her face and all over her "vor" (her bottom).  The meaning?  When folks of limited means come into sudden wealth, they don't know what to do with that wealth, and thus their choices are often ostentatious, or even worse, gross.  Marash Girl's comment to Marash Boy whenever she sees such display?  Oh, not to worry; it's only the bekmez girl!


  1. I totally love the story!

  2. A metaphor at best!

  3. We did last week also from grapes sucuk, samsa bastık

    1. Can you tell us how to make the grape sucuk and samsa batik?

    2. is made from grape juice. You can find pictures here