Food: Connecting People
Traditions of hosting people and making the table for them can say a lot about the people, their traditions and habits. You probably remember about one of the national Armenian dishes Khash. It is said that khash can only be cooked by men, who spend the entire night cooking, and can be eaten only in the early morning in cold weather. This meal is not very easy to digest, that’s why you won’t get hungry after a while. The main ingredient in khash is cow’s feet that are cleaned, kept in cold water in order to get rid of bad smell, and boiled in water all night long, until the water has become a thick broth and the meat has separated from the bones. Dried lavash (Armenian bread) is often crumbled into the broth to add substance. And also fresh lavash is used to cover the pots to keep the meal hot as long as it is possible.
What about the roots of this meal? This was supposed to be the food for poor, as people usually sold out the meat to make their living and the only parts left unsold /not consumed/ were the cow’s feet. To make something out of it, people “invented” Khash to utilize whatever is left. A very simple, cheap food to be shared will all family members and neighbors and a way not to get hungry for comparatively long time. This meal later became a cozy tradition of meeting and eating, socializing and drinking among more and more people. Along with the meal served in clay pots/plates, greens, garlic, pickles are inseparable attributes to this table and of course… alcohol connecting people!
Armenian oghi or aragh, mainly known as fruit vodka is the traditional accompanying alcohol for khash. But, no toasts are allowed during enjoying this meal and there are some objective reasons for that. This is a rather greasy meal and one shouldn’t let it become cool. So, no time to loose! Drink fruit vodka quickly and enjoy the meal, which is often recommended by doctors in case of some injures and fractures as it contains a lot of calcium.
Armenians say, that Khash doesn’t allow 3 K-s: toasts (Kenats -in Arm), cognac (Koniak-in Arm) and women (Kin-in Arm). Though women basically don’t care about this and often join their men in this eating ritual.