When I started seeing husband Hodge in 1995 I knew he was tall, dark and handsome and had a funny surname. I also knew he was adoring with excellent taste in music and ultimately that he was my soulmate. The fact that he was half Armenian mattered not a jot. I just didn’t and don’t like his (now our) surname, no one can say it or spell it correctly and it just marks us out as extra different.
He wasn’t brought up in a household teeming with Armenian culture. His father would take him to his church and out for the occasional traditional meal but that was pretty much as far as it went.
When Hodge became mine, I was keen that he try and keep some of the ties to his roots, his heritage is now our heritage and that of our son. Knowing that the way to his heart is through his stomach and that young Splodge shares similar culinary tastes, we have regular Armenian nights where I cook from an amazing cookbook called “The Armenian Table” by Victoria Jenanyan-Wise, which I treated myself to a few years ago (I have an obsession with cookbooks, our bookshelves groan with them).
It’s a brilliant cookbook which I probably would’ve loved anyway. Armenian food is similar to Greek, Turkish and Persian cuisine and big hits from the book include lamb kufta, Armenian salads, stuffed aubergines and Armenian pilaf rice. I did mean to cook up a meal for this blog but time ran away from me, but I will blog one of our Armenian nights in the future.
It is important to us that Splodge understands his heritage and what a contrast his lucky first world life is compared to the hardships faced by large numbers of Armenian families. We regularly send packages of warm clothing and essentials to needy families via Oxfam and it’s important Splodge is involved in that process.
In Manchester we are lucky enough to have access to the Armenian church and the wonderful friends within it, although we rarely attend, it is still a vital connection to the past. We also regularly visit the Armenian Taverna in the city centre for meals and we love (seriously love) Armenique which is a fantastic deli in Gatley which we visit often (do try it, it is amazing).
Apart from our ridiculous surname, I do enjoy being part of a slightly multicultural family. It seems that all of our friends families are made up from descendants of first, second and third generation immigrants from all over the world. So I don’t feel any different to anyone else. Apart from the daft name.