Easter was the one time every year we visited our Armenian Orthodox Church. It's a small community in Syracuse, but the follow is strong and spans generations, a place that's kept alive by families who share a loyalty to tradition, Armenia, and their belief.
Sometime before the holidays when we were on a 3-way call, our meal plan for Christmas started at paella, and ended at me screaming at about where, in the vast depths of the world wide web, all the brothy lobster pasta recipes were hiding.
When it comes to ingredients, I have no higher expectation than that of the quality of the August tomato. This is the veggie that can not and will not ever let me down. It has to be perfect every single time. And its my job to make that tomato baby shine.
I'm sort of a homemade elitist. Even I find myself pretty annoying when I can hear the way I talk about how so many things are better when they're made from scratch (they are, but no one cares Mandy)..
At the end of every summer, our church would hold a park picnic to eat great food, raise money for building restorations, and honestly just celebrate being Armenian. Highlights included competitive oriental rug raffles, interesting musical offerings, 4,000 pieces of baklava, and someone trying to arrange a marriage between Hillary and a man fresh off the boat.
I'm big into the recommended guidelines for sleep, so for 10 months of the year, my bedtime is promptly 9:30 PM. This is probably because I'm up at the crack of dawn to spend a full day hanging out with 15 year olds... a task that definitely requires a full 8 hours if you want to retain your sanity.
I'm pretty weird about dessert. When summer rolls around, I feel morally obligated to take advantage of seasonal produce at it's finest, and so this means I should be whipping up cobblers and pies and galettes. Only problem is, I don't actually love any of this stuff.
As Hillary previously called me out for my one pan recipe week, she was correct in that I was merely being lazy and unmotivated to cook. No one is down for a cumbersome cooking project more than I am, but some weeks, I have absolutely no desire to be tied to my kitchen. This generally starts to happen when the sun is out, and I long for a grill, and a patio, and a yard to lay in... the list goes on. Always a lady with needs.
We come from a family of pretty serious gardeners. We grew up watching corn, cherry tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cucumbers sprout up on the hill in our backyard. And while the planning and maintenance of the garden was never really our responsibility, fighting over who got to pick the ripe veggies was a common argument, typically resulting in the plucking of some orange tomatoes and not-yet-ripe baby cucumbers.
Seven years ago I started working at a seafood restaurant that was owned by the family of one of my closest friends. I knew very little about food at that point. So little, in fact, that when a cook asked me if I wanted fried, sautéed, or broiled scallops I replied, “uh, which is better?”