Until just over two years ago I was the least experienced cook in my immediate family. My sister has her perfect Nanaimo bars, my mom makes the best chili in Canada and my dad is an expert stir fryer. An incident involving Easy Mac scarred me from any attempts at cooking or baking after the age of 14 (I forgot to add water to the noodles and ruined a perfectly good bowl.) But since making boreg for the first time two years ago, and effectively conquering my fear of the kitchen, cooking has become a true passion of mine.
It started with making dinner every Sunday night; always something different and always a bit of a challenge. Now I look forward to planning and making dinners and desserts for family or friends for holidays, celebrations, or just an everyday meal. It’s nice to make delicious food for the people you love even if 100% of the time I’m worried I’ve read the recipe wrong and it tastes awful. We all saw how expertly everyone on Friends lied to Rachel when she made that horrible shepherds pie trifle. Disregarding the comedic aspects of that storyline I really liked it because everyone worked really hard to protect Rachel from her disgusting creation.
The dessert was important to her because she wanted to positively contribute to their meal and they all understood that. Personally, I really sympathise with what Rachel was going through because I ruined my sister’s birthday cake a few years ago and felt awful. Food traditions like cake on birthdays or boreg near Christmas are important to the overall celebration and it feels nice to be involved in that part of the day/night. That’s why everyone tried so hard to protect Rachel from knowing about her trifle mess and why I felt so bad when I used baking soda instead of baking powder for part of a cake.It seems kind of trivial at first but food is a part of a lot of big traditions both religious and cultural. And they can even provide connections between the generations of a family. I like thinking about the fact that a small part of me is an Armenian woman carefully folding spinach and feta into perfect little pastry triangles. Or imagining my grandma as a small child eating the same squares we made for her birthday this year. Or maybe I’m just totally in love with cooking and baking and have justified it with all of this. Either way, the result is the same, delicious food all year round.