Enjoy Every Bite

By | November 18, 2013

About a year ago, I issued a recipe challenge to my friend Loretta. I had been drooling over her cooking blog for months, bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t make most of her recipes because they called for ingredients I couldn’t find in Armenia. So I asked her to come up with a meal for me that utilized food items that were readily available, and I sent her a big ol’ list of things she should and shouldn’t use.

She came through in spades.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to give her full kudos until now.

Let me explain:

She came up with dessert first, Apple Pear Hand Pies. I struggled with many challenges in the making of them (see blog entry about that), but got them to turn out okay in the end.

Me and my delicious apple pear hand pie. And my winter hat. Inside the house. And my scarf and jacket, which I was also wearing.

Me and my delicious apple pear hand pie. And my winter hat. Inside the house. And my scarf and jacket, which I was also wearing.

The main course was Cauliflower Pasta and I really wanted to make it. But I had a few dilemmas, which I told her about.

“I love it! I was just walking past the cauliflower yesterday, thinking I should buy some and cook with it! And you came up with the perfect recipe. Thank you! Now, as per usual in Armenia, I have to wait, though, because the gas cylinder I use to cook with is empty. I went in a taxi, with two young helpers to get it refilled today, and when we got to the place, we were told, “There is no gas.” THERE IS NO GAS! Can you believe it?? There’s another place a little farther away, but they don’t have gas, either. They said to come back in 2 days. So later this week, when I finally get gas again, I will try this recipe.

[update: I went back 2 days later, there was still no gas, and they said to come back AGAIN in 2 days. I went back a week later and finally got my tank filled.]

I’ll be sure to let you know how everything turns out when things are back to “normal” around here.”

Well guess what? Once things got back to “normal,” it was too late in the season, and I couldn’t find cauliflower anywhere!

THERE WAS NO CAULIFLOWER! Can you believe it??

Sure enough, I had missed cauliflower season.

Cauliflower wouldn’t come around again for another year, and that sent my subconscious into a frenzy. I literally started dreaming about cauliflower. I dreamed that I was searching for it at the store. One time I dreamed that I bought several heads of it, to make sure I had enough. Once I dreamed that there was only one head and someone got to it before I did.

The end result was always the same. I would wake up with no cauliflower, and this recipe continued to haunt me.

But now I’m back in America! Ingredients are available all the time! So here it is, the recipe I never made because Vardenis stopped selling cauliflower for the year.

In making the cauliflower pasta, I was struck again and again by the incredible differences between my American kitchen and my Armenian one. See if you can spot any:

Lack of Kitchen Counter

This is my Armenian kitchen. Here you can see my complete lack of a kitchen counter.

Cutting Cauliflower

Cutting cauliflower in America. You can already see some huge differences.

Cooking on the Stovetop

Cooking on the stove top in America there is a world of difference!

Some of the things that scream out to me are: real countertops; actual counter space; fresh fruits and veggies in surplus; a gas stove with four burners plus an oven, all in working condition; a microwave above the stove; a toaster oven to the right; spices galore; a blender that also cooks food (Did you even know those existed??? I didn’t!); cupboards, drawers… And of course there are the things you can’t see, like the fact that I was wearing short sleeves and there was no need for a winter hat on my head.

I can hardly believe I used to cook the way I did in Armenia. There was no space for anything.

My little electric oven sat on a rolling table that was just big enough to accommodate it

My little electric oven sat on a rolling table that was just big enough to accommodate it

When the baking was done, I set it out to cool on a 2 foot high stool that could barely hold two plates side by side.

When the baking was done, I set it out to cool on a 2 foot high stool that could barely hold two plates side by side.

I love American kitchens. I’ve stood and marveled at every single one I’ve walked into since I’ve been home.

Loretta, thank you. I know this recipe was intended for me in Armenia, but oh, how sweet it was, to make it in America.

The final result: Cauliflower Pasta

The final result: Cauliflower Pasta

It tasted delicious. I enjoyed every single bite. Funny thing, though—I would have also enjoyed every single bite in Armenia.

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What are you grateful for, in your own kitchen? Or what feelings did this post bring up for you? Please share, in the comments below.


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4 thoughts on “Enjoy Every Bite

  1. Anna Mkrtchyan

    Ev, I am sorry you didn’t have conveniences in Armenia but your kitchen was bad because PC didn’t pay the rent for having a better house where you could have a better kitchen with counters and a normal gas stove at least.
    But from all these you learnt to appreciate what you have now and people who read about it will also see and appreciate all the things that they have.

  2. Ruthann

    I agree with Anna – I appreciate my kitchen much more, seeing how you had so little space in Armenia. And also I’m appreciating that my problem with my house is the clutter – too much stuff, instead of too little. Not really a horrid problem to have, I guess.

  3. Loretta

    Although I sometimes get annoyed at my 70’s kitchen that doesn’t have enough counter space, there is no shortage of storage, appliances, or ingredients for cooking and baking! Thanks for reminding me that I have a lot to be thankful for and I’m glad you finally got “gas”! Welcome back to the US of A!

    1. Ev Post author

      It’s true, Loretta. We have a lot to be thankful for, even as we are cursing our good fortune. Thanks for the welcome back!

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