OP: The Cuisine of Armenia
Harper & Row, 1974. Hardcover. Very Good Plus in Very Good jacket. First printing.
We have had precious little to offer on Armenian cooking in recent years, though the interest is persistent (publishers take note). One book we turn to again and again was published in 1974. Written by Lebanon-born Armenian Sonia Uvezian, The Cuisine of Armenia, though long out of print, remains a strong resource on the subject.
Historical Armenia covered a vast swath of land, perfectly situated between the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and, just a bit further southeast, the Persian Gulf. Its particularly advantageous geography and frequently shifting political delineations made cultural dissemination a certainty.
Armenian food, by extension, bears recognizable hallmarks of European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Russian and Caucasian, and Asian cuisines, while still somehow retaining its own distinct perspective.
Some recipes catching our attention here include:
- Mantabour—a soup of lamb-filled dumplings cooked in either yogurt (tangy, minty) or tomato (savory, garlicky) broth
- Roasted chicken—stuffed with nuts, dried fruit, winter spices, ground lamb, aromatics, and bread—basted with fresh pomegranate juice and butter
- Potato salad, tossed with sour cream, cucumbers, and fresh herbs
- Curried sole steamed en papillote
- Ararat rice pilaf, a festive banquet dish, consisting of toasted almonds, dried fruits, cinnamon and cloves, and hollowed apples filled with ignited brandy, as pictured on the front cover