Vegetable Soup

Kitchens never have doors. Do you ever think about that? Bedrooms and basements and bathrooms all have doors. Closets have doors. Guest rooms have doors. Garages and studies and pantries have doors, but kitchens don’t. I guess that’s so the smell of whatever is cooking can waft through the house. So it can call everyone to the table. So I can tell, even when I’m tucked away in my room behind a closed door, what Grammie is cooking. 

When I think of Grammie, I think of vegetable soup. 

I think of the heavy wooden chairs in her old dining room and trying to squeeze behind them to reach the kitchen. 

I think of chunky gold rings. “Here – try this on.” They don’t fit me yet. 

I think of hydrangeas. Pink, purple, blue and white. 

I think of Italian love songs and Armenian slang, both with a thick New York accent. 

I think of Lulu and Rosemary. Marianne and Arax. Rosy and Alice. 

I think of Winky and GooGoo. Grace and Tourig. 

I think of shimmery peach-colored nail lacquer and golden lipstick tubes. 

I think of TJ Maxx and Kings Market. 

I think of carrots being peeled with a soapy cop show playing in the background. 

I think of navy suede loafers. 

I think of a tea kettle. The kind that whistles when it’s time. A tiny porcelain bird at the spout.

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I think of cookbooks mostly unread. Achki chapov

I think of permed hair and pink rollers. 

I think of coconut ice cream pops with little bits of shredded coconut inside. 

I think of a tiny space between two front teeth. 

I think of blueberries. 

I think of a hat room bursting with color and fabric and tulle and buttons. 

I think of “You like it? It’s yours.” 

I think of dolma – cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini. 

I think of blue and white checkerboard tea towels. 

I think of St. Illuminator’s and the Glenpointe Marriott. 

I think of roasted beets and currants in a heavy baking dish. 

I think of a little porcelain puppy with sweet, droopy eyes. 

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I think of the tiny ARF pin once belonging to her grandfather and one day belonging to my brother. 

I think of the Sea Crest on the Fourth of July. The hantes in the ballroom smelling like salty sea air and pasty white sunscreen. 

I think of the best barbeque sauce you’ve ever had. Practically world famous. 

I think of being introduced as “Grammie,” not Vergine. That’s just what everyone calls her.

I think of an iPad won from the church raffle that we still can’t figure out. 

I think of pink, her signature color. 

I think of bamya. Thick, slimy shoots of okra lathered in tomato sauce. Little cubes of fatty mees

I think of a fireplace crackling on Christmas Eve and a funny German song on Christmas Day. 

I think of Out of Africa and Casablanca

I think of pearls. 

I think of how she’s always in the kitchen – never behind a closed door. 

Arev Dinkjian

Arev Dinkjian

Arev Dinkjian grew up in an Armenian household in Fort Lee, NJ. She was always surrounded by art, sourced by her musical father and grandfather, Ara and Onnik, or her creative mother Margo. Arev graduated from Providence College with a degree in elementary and special education. She enjoys teaching language arts to her students and takes great pride in instilling an appreciation for literature in her classroom. She is a former member of the New Jersey AYF “Arsen" Chapter and a member of both the Bergen County ARS and the Sts. Vartanantz Ladies’ Guild. She also dedicated many summers to AYF Camp Haiastan, which she says remains her favorite topic to write about.
Arev Dinkjian

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  1. Your Grammie thinks her Little Love is a Godsend! She is everything that is beautiful and good in this crazy world. She is so very precious to me! Batchigs & Hugs Forever

  2. This Grammie gives the biggest hugs and best kisses with a big mua at the end. She is one of a kind. Love reading your articles. They are so genuine and it hits home for sure.

  3. We love our auntie Verg, your Grammy. She is sugar and spice and everything nice!! And a whole lot more ! Loved your editorial arev . So true !!

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