Dandeegeen Diaries—Chapter 8: Fasoolya

On the stove, bringing the saucepan to a boil.

Another week of quarantine, another week of deciding what to cook. In all honesty, cooking fatigue has set in! It is no longer so cool to be a Dandeegeen anymore. This exploration into my cooking side is wearing on me. And my diary entries are feeling the exhaustion of being a homemaker under these unprecedented times. Just the word “unprecedented” is getting old. Everything is unprecedented. So now what?

The rituals of food planning, food shopping and food prep have become monotonous. And if I hear “what’s for dinner” one more time, I may just explode. A Dandeegeen’s work is never done, in the kitchen or in the home. And this Dandeegeen can’t grocery shop, so I am left to the shopping escapades of my husband Ara. Last week he found fresh green beans, pre-packed! SOLD! No one has handled this vegetable in the store, so I am good to go. 

This week I took on the challenge of fasoolya. It’s an Armenian dinner staple and a St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church hokejash (memorial) side dish tradition. Trying to prepare a dish to the caliber of a known recipe is always a challenge. My late mother-in-law Mary Krafian was also a connoisseur of fasoolya, so two very high bars were set. But I put my best foot forward. Again relying on my St. Stephen’s Ladies Guild cookbook, I found the recipe to be simple enough, so I went ahead and threw the ingredients together in a saucepan. It seemed too simple, almost elementary. How could I have been worried about making such a simple dish? 

Now to decide if the fasoolya was a win. So I went to the household critics—the children. In our home, I have four critics, each with their own distinct food preferences, some having more sensitive taste buds than others. Let’s just say I have two plain palate tasters and two gourmet palate tasters. This usually ends in a split decision. So I heavily rely on the two critics with a more gourmet palate! The outcome was a success. Not only were all parties satisfied, they asked for it the next day served cold—another nice way to enjoy fasoolya. Hot or cold, doesn’t matter, either way the final product should taste good at either temperature. Then you know it is a win.

These past two months have been an insightful opportunity to understand that some things are not that difficult; you just need to try. It’s generally the fear of failing that holds us back from trying. So all bets are off this quarantine for the novice Dandeegeen. You must make an honest attempt at those dishes you have feared just to build your confidence. Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen? If all else fails, just throw the lahmejun from the freezer into the toaster oven and save the day! That’s always a win.

Heather Krafian

Heather Krafian

Heather Apigian Krafian was born in Detroit, Michigan and was one of the founding students of A.G.B.U. Alex Manoogian School in 1969. She graduated Michigan State University in 1988 with a bachelor’s in International Relations and cognate studies in German and Russian. She holds a master’s in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. As an ANCA intern, Heather worked for the Minority Rights Group in London under Ben Whittaker. She’s also worked at Zoryan Institute as its Armenian Studies Coordinator. She began her career in education in 1990 after which she became the assistant principal of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School from 2006 to 2008; she currently serves on its Education Committee. She has also served on the Board of Trustees at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church. Heather is a member of the ARS Cambridge “Shushi” Chapter and a member of the ARS Eastern Region Board of Directors. Heather was the 2010 recipient of the Knights of Vartan “Community Leader” Award and the 2015 recipient of the Eastern Prelacy’s Certificate of Merit. She is married to Ara Krafian; they live in Belmont, MA with their four daughters Araxi, Nairi, Anoush and Knar.

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