Armenian Food

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Cook Is Only As Good As His Pots

Out of the many odds and ends that I collected as I wrote ARMENIAN FOOD: FACT, FICTION & FOLKLORE, one photograph that was not included in the book is this picture of common metal cookware used in the past by Armenian villagers. The photo comes from a 1963 book written by the famous Armenian ethnographer S.D. Lisitsian and published in Yerevan. It describes details of the life of rural people in the Zangezoor region. While the photo’s quality is poor, the details of the old pots and pans are still visible.

What is surprising about this old cookware is that while the items may look similar, each one had a special purpose and function, and was used for cooking and serving different kinds of food. For example, one of the bowl-shaped pots was called a lagian, and was used only for holding honey. Another lagian was dedicated for making and storing yogurt, matsoun. My favorite, the first on the left in the second row, is a special pot for distributing matagh, the boiled lamb soup that is traditionally offered in Armenia as a charity meal.

Many of these antiquated pots are rarities now, but they are still popular. Just not for cooking. People pay big money for them as antiques, for use as home and restaurant decorations.


Read about matagh and other Armenian food customs in our book ARMENIAN FOOD: FACT, FICTION & FOLKLORE by Irina Petrosian and David Underwood, ISBN 1411698659.

P.S. ARMENIAN FOOD: FACT, FICTION & FOLKLORE has been selected by the Book Club, and will be listed along with other titles of interest to international business executives and world travelers. Thank you, Forbes!

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