Since forever, holidays in our home meant eating Armenian appetizers before the main meal…stuffed grape leaves and boreg (think spanakopita) accompany every gathering, they go with bbq, turkey, roast beef, and lamb…of course they go with lamb. They are a staple. Delicious bits of goodness that are both complicated and tedious to make. Armenians like a little suffering in their food prep, why layer your phyllo dough when you can make 100 individual triangles.
I have been folding triangles (boreg) for about 48 years. For the first 7 years of my life I got to watch and listen to the “how to deal with phyllo dough” play by play. Katharine (pronounced Katrin) we used to make this…yes, my grandma and great aunties MADE phyllo dough. Kit Kat, you have to have the dough at the right temperature, don’t worry about sheets with rips, just patch it. Watch and learn. I finally graduated to being able to fold…Kit Kat, that is too much filling…Kit Kat, that is not enough filling…Katharine, you can do it, yes, you can do it. In my head I repeated up and over, up and over as I folded…creating a triangle that was full, but not too full, tight but not too tight. Trying so hard to make a triangle that was…jusssst right.
Every year, a few days before Thanksgiving the realization that annual appeals and holiday cards should be in the mail the first week in December hits my clients. There is a mad rush for design, approval, and getting files off to the printer, all while I am trying to organize the holidays, it makes for some long days. Today I needed to focus. Brush brush brush, tap tap, clink…and repeat. That is the sound of my mom making boreg, butter brushed, spoon tapping the filling on the dough, and the clink of the spoon tossed back in the bowl. I ran downstairs. I joined the production line, brush, tap, clink…it was lovely. After we finished folding and doing, my mom looked at our work and said… thanks for helping Kat, your triangles are GORGEOUS.
Best. Compliment. Ever.
I am thankful I was wise enough to put off work for a bit to cook with my mom. I am thankful for family traditions. And I am super thankful my mom waited 48 years to compliment my triangles…I have to admit, they were pretty awesome, I think even grandma would have approved.