RA Minister of Diaspora: “The book “Cuisine of Armenia” serves as a wonderful way of presenting the Armenian national identity to the world”

On March 22, within the scope of the Days of Francophonie in Armenia, the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia hosted the presentation of the book “Cuisine of Armenia” published by Richard and Korin Zarzavajian in France in 2017.

In her opening remarks, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan greeted the book’s authors and the guests of the event and particularly stated the following: “This subsequent national event is devoted to Armenian cuisine, Armenian traditions and Armenianness. The book presents a typical story of an Armenian. The ‘pieces’ of an Armenian family settled in France after escaping the Armenian Genocide, and thanks to the generosity of the French nation, they became the worthy citizens of France, while staying clung to their roots and preserving their faith, language and identity. Armenian cuisine forms a part of Armenian identity, and the book “Cuisine of Armenia” serves as a wonderful example of presenting the Armenian national identity to the world. We can preserve our national cultural heritage by exploring and transmitting it.”

President of the Development and Preservation of Armenian Culinary Traditions NGO Sedrak Mamulyan also congratulated the authors of the book and stressed the following: “National cuisine plays a major role in shaping the image, personality, state of mind and mindset of a nation. On behalf of my organization, I would like to thank you for transmitting that particle of Armenian cuisine.”

The book was presented by Korin Zarzavajian. Expressing gratitude for organizing the book presentation, she presented the touching story behind the creation of the book and stated that the book “Cuisine of Armenia” (Cuisine d’Arménie) features photos and recipes of nearly 100 Armenian dishes. “Over a year ago, we were trying to compile the memories that our grandmother had shared with us, and in a closet, my brother and I accidentally found an old traveler’s chest that contained an orange, worn-out school folder. My mother had carefully written the recipes of the Armenian dishes of our childhood days with her beautiful handwriting for over ten years. I thought that that orange folder definitely had to become a book because it contained not only recipes, but also stories of the dishes and foods that seemed to be stories of traditions and fairy tales showing our national customs. For instance, in that folder we learned that if a girl in Tigranakert treated coffee to the boy who had come to ask for her hand in marriage and if she made the coffee sweet, then she was ready to become the boy’s wife. This is more than just a recipe for an Armenian coffee,” she stated.

Richard added the following: “Our parents were Frenchmen, but at the same time, they would never forget about their Armenian roots. We had traditions, spoke in Armenian, and cuisine was a unique link to different generations for us. Eating Armenian dishes was always a celebration for us.”

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