In her new book Home Again, University of Hartford Professor Mari Firkatian combines Armenian recipes from the Ottoman Empire with an immigrant family’s memoir. The recipes serve as a means of preserving a cultural heritage. Firkatian examines the relationship between history and cuisine, between displacement and memory, and between an individual and his ancestors.
Deftly combining her grandmother’s recollections of daily life in the Ottoman Empire with the personal recollections of others from different villages, Firkatian describes the recipes and experiences of those communities in loving prose. The book revives a lost world and invites the reader to imagine being a guest in her grandmother Iskouhi’s home. The author has studiously preserved the ancient roots of the recipes while presenting them in a modern context. She presents over 175 recipes and contextualizes them by sharing fragments of first hand recollections from the chefs themselves, the heirs to the culture. She punctuates the text with anecdotes, songs, personal experiences and historic contexts to the particular regions she has highlighted.
Firkatian has been a Fulbright Scholar and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow as well as a Yale University Fellow and a recipient of International Research and Exchanges Board scholarships. She has lived and traveled extensively in Southeast Europe and the Soviet Union. With a formal background in linguistics and history, Firkatian’s research interests include minority populations, diplomatic history and intellectual history. She has most recently begun to explore the history of food and the key role it plays as a historical artifact.
Firkatian will be presenting her recently published book Home Again: Armenian Recipes from the Ottoman Empire at the AGBU New England Center (247 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown, Mass.) on Thursday, February 21, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). This event is free and open to the public. A reception and refreshments will take place before and after the program.
For more information about this program, contact NAASR at 617-489-1610 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
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