[caption id="attachment_1628" align="alignright" width="242"] Barbara Drieskens[/caption]
Throughout all the month of April, co-authors Barbara Drieskens participated in a tour across Canada and the U.S. to showcase their famous book titled 'Armenian Cuisine'. The women from Lebanon have created a book that is a combination of photos, oral history, and recipes of traditional cuisines. The new book has been a big hit and is often found in the homes of many families, waiting on the kitchen table to be used.
The idea of the book was developed by Kamakian, who, as a Lebanese-Armenian chef had two project aims. The first was to make a keepsake of her mother's legendary recipes. The second goal was to clarify why some of the recipes were listed under Turkish names. Her questions led her to Cilicia, the ancestral place of Armenian, sometimes referred to as present southeastern Turkey. Kamakian knew that her real talent was for cooking, not with writing. With that in mind, she pushed for a partnership with Drieskens. Given Drieskens gift of writing, they made a good pair. Both of them went on a three-week long trip that covered almost 2,000 miles. They went with an aim of uncovering the roots of Armenian people and their food culture in a location where neither seemed to exist anymore. The results were outstanding, leading to a book full of 139 classic recipes, along with stunning photos of natural foods and breath-taking landscapes.
The duo found it difficult to reconcile the land's delicate beauty with the disastrous events that had taken place. They were horrified to witness years of ancient abandoned churches. They also discovered ruins covered in the Armenian language that isn't even spoken of in the present day. There was a light at the end of the tunnel when they realized that the culture had been preserved in some respects – through cooking traditional food. They took time to speak to different local families, including those who survived the Armenian Genocide. Cooking was a way to express all of the depressing stories and challenges that they faced. For genocide survivors, cooking was an escape route away from pain.
The women embarked on a tour around several places including Montreal, New York, Boston, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Each city brought new stories for the ladies to sit and listen to. They watched locals prepare traditional meals and even sampled various cuisines at every possible opportunity. Kamakian and Drieskens helped participants follow their recipes while in Montreal. Over in New Jersey, 60 people brought the entire book available for sale after seeing them prepare appetizers and desserts. The same occurred in different cities, as people were keen to spread the word about how valuable the book is.
Shortly, Kamakian and Drieskens hope to release a Turkish-translated version of the book for Turkish citizens. The book captivates the past in a way that most books can't, through recipes, visuals, and some history. The unique combination of the book makes it extremely accessible to everyone. The book will continue to be the topic of conversation during meal times and in the evening. Everyone waits for the next edition with anticipation.