Episode 78
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

From flatbreads to the Armenian revolution: the making of the Lavash cookbook

"One thing about Armenia that makes it complicated is there's Western Armenian food and Eastern Armenian food, and the divide goes back, centuries. But the one thing they always had in common is they would have a tanir [oven] and would be making [lavash]. It's a very special thing for heritage." ‚ÄďKate Leahy

This week, we're excited to welcome Kate Leahy, Ara Zada, and John Lee to Salt + Spine, the podcast on cookbooks. Kate, Ara, and John are the trio behind Lavash: The Bread that Launched 1,000 Meals, Plus Salads, Stews, and Other Recipes from Armenia.

The trio are the team behind the cookbook, Lavash: The Bread That Launched 1,000 Meals, Plus Salads, Stews, and Other Recipes From Armenia.

Together, they have worked to tell the story of lavash, the “ubiquitous and doable UNESCO-recognized flatbread of Armenia."

As the authors note, the Republic of Armenia is a small country‚ÄĒabout the size of Massachusetts, and with half of the population. But the country boasts a diverse landscape:¬†mountainous yet rich in agriculture. With more than 60 recipes, their cookbook showcases not only the lavash bread but also all the dishes you‚Äôll want to eat alongside it.

In today’s show, we’re talking with Kate, Ara, and John about:

  • the process of how this cookbook came together;
  • why lavash is so significant in the global history and to Armenian cuisine;
  • and how John and his team ended up in the middle of a tumultuous protest while working on the book.

Our guests discuss Armenian cuisine and the importance of lavash, their research trips to Armenia, and how they think about cookbooks. Plus, we’re playing a lavash-themed game at the end of the show.

Also, in today’s show:

  • Salt + Spine Kitchen Correspondent Sarah Varney heads into the kitchen to prepare arishta‚ÄĒtraditional Armenian flour noodles‚ÄĒwith mushrooms.

VOICES featured in this episode:

RECIPES featured in this episode:

COOKBOOKS featured in this episode:

Episode Transcript: