Hye Thyme Cafe: Finish the Sentence Friday ... If I could go back and do something over it would be..."

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Finish the Sentence Friday ... If I could go back and do something over it would be..."

Ashken Janoian

This week's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is "If I could go back and do something over it would be..."

There is probably at least a handful of things I would do differently if given the chance, but the one that I think about all the time is, in fact, time … time I could/should have spent with my maternal grandmother.

My grandfather passed away when I was 13, and my grandmother lived on her own for a while after that, but there came a time when she finally moved in with us, and I seriously regret not spending more time with her – for a LOT of reasons.

Back then, I pretty much did whatever I could to not be home, but that's really no excuse, since I could have taken her out with me if I thought of it.  It just never occurred to me.  There are so many things I would want to ask her about her childhood and her family, about her memories of living in Armenia, her early relationship with my grandfather (I've heard it was an arranged marriage, but I'm not quite sure.), and her love for the theatre that we shared but I never knew about until she was gone.

As meek and gentle a soul as she was, it still amazes me that she even managed to survive the genocide in Armenia and the passing of her father at such a young age (his death was through illness, not related - just bad timing), to then be separated from her family and placed in an orphanage until she could be reunited with family again and relocate to the U.S., only to then lose her mother as well.  Just a blink away were the Great Depression and WWII … Maybe that was all training her for the wicked witch of a mother-in-law she was about to be saddled with.  As much as I loved my grandfather, I was petrified of his mother!  His father must have been the joker in the family, because my grandfather was a big goofball with a touch of a nasty streak.  He definitely got that streak from her, so I'm guessing his infectious smile, boyish charm, and mischievous nature were inherited from his Dad.

I would give anything for one more day with my grandmother.  Just to spend time in her presence would be enough, but it would be even more special if we spent the day in the kitchen together since we really never did that.  By the time I developed much of an interest in cooking/baking, she was already gone.  It would be especially helpful to have that one day in the kitchen with her so I could get her to translate her recipes into English!!  I have two notebooks she wrote recipes in, but some are in English, others in Armenian, and some appear to have a little French thrown in for good measure.  I know a bunch of people who speak Armenian, but not read it, and it's especially difficult to read someone else's handwriting in another language.  Then there are all those recipes she had in her head that were never written down at all. 

If I couldn't go back for a do-over to spend the time with my grandmother that I should have when I had the opportunity, the other thing I would turn back to is a friend's wedding.  The reason that came up was that I was baking a tray of Almond-Chocolate-Toffee Paklava yesterday for a bridal shower tomorrow, and the Paklava reminded me of that wedding.  In addition to the desserts that were to be provided at the venue, the bride (Armenian) had asked that I bake Paklava for the occasion, so there could be a platter on every table.  Well, one thing lead to another, and we were so involved with pre-wedding errands (I was the maid of honor) that we were up until oh, I think it was 5 am on the morning of the wedding day baking tray after tray after tray.  Finally done, we sent someone to deliver it to the venue.  So what happened??  They refrigerated it!  All that work, and it basically turned to cement.  But for the fact that most of the people there were Armenian and know good Paklava when they eat it, we might have tried to thaw it out and pass it off, but there was no way.  I could definitely use a do-over for that one!

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Next week's sentence will be:  "In church (place of worship), I learned to ..."


  1. Hey there! I haven't seen you since a link up.

    I have memories of a great grandmother like that. I did spend a lot of time with her but I wish I had paid attention to all the things she did in the kitchen. I didn't know then that I would one day enjoy baking so I didn't pay attention and I would love some of her from scratch recipes like dough.

    I know those books you have a treasure. Maybe one day you'll find someone that can help you fully interpret them.

    Awww man to the Paklava story!

    1. I know, I missed a few - been very busy lately ... including baking Paklava for a wedding shower. The weather was a bit of an issue, but that didn't compare to my friend's wedding! Hey, I'm hoping one day I'll be able to translate those books myself. The funny thing is that when I lived on Cape Cod, I signed up a few times to take Armenian classes at the local community college, but it was always cancelled for one reason or another. :(

  2. I so wish I could have spent more time with my grandmother too. She passed away when I was 24, and there have been so many times when I would have loved to speak with her, for her to know the woman I became. I am thankful for the time I did have with her, but it just wasn't enough.

    1. I think I was the same age when I lost mine. And you're right, the time we had just wasn't enough. I used to love listening to her play the piano when I was young, and I'm still getting great use out of the afghans the crocheted and knitted. I miss my Grammy!! :(

  3. Wow, your grandmother's story is incredible. This post made me wish the same thing- that I had spent more time with my grandma who died when I was 15. I wish there was a chance we could have gotten to know each other as adults, not just relatives. Great post!


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