Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - No comments

Noah, Enough With the Pudding Already!

Ever stop to think about what Noah fed his family once they disembarked from the ark? It's not as though he'd had a chance to plant and harvest crops, and his kitchen cupboards weren't exactly stocked, or even standing. As the legend goes, for their first dry-land meal, they gathered up all the leftover nuts, grains and bits of fruit still in the galley pantry and cooked them up into a sort of pudding, and that's how they kept from starving.

Here in the land of Ararat, every year in the month following the Sacrifice Festival, it's traditional for each family to make up a big pot of aşure ("Noah's Pudding") and then take bowls of it around to share with friends and neighbours. Every housewife has her own recipe that she swears by - a varying combination of grains, wheat, beans, nuts, dried fruit and sugar.

Once "aşure making week" rolls around, the pots start boiling and the doorbell starts ringing, and soon an entire shelf in the fridge is full of bowls of the stuff. Each bowl has its own personality - as distinct as the cooks themselves. Emine's is soupy - mostly wheat and chickpeas, while Aydan Abla's has lots of crunchy bits, and yummy pomegranate seeds sprinkled generously on top. I've never made my own, but if I did, it would probably involve less wheat and more chocolate chips, not keeping very close to the story of "what they had on the ark." :)

I suppose if one wanted to amuse oneself, one could set up a booth in the complex parking lot and do taste tests to see whose is the most well-loved...but that might not be the best thing for neighbourhood relations, being that these recipes are well-honed masterpieces of great pride. There are strong opinions about these things, you know.

All in all, aşure is a point....but it's also pretty....texture-y. I can only handle one bowlful per year, and I'm done. Thankfully my roommate likes to warm it up and eat it for breakfast, sorta like a porridge. It's a good thing, too, cuz just when the bowls were empty and she thought she'd finished her aşure-duty for the year, yesterday the doorbell rang....