Nani. My grandmother. I don’t even know where to start. Nani loves everyone she sees. She always picks out the most beautiful thing about a person, whether it is their eyes, their hair, their heart… and she’ll tell them right away, “I love your hair! You’re so beautiful! I love you.” and gives a generous smile with a love sparkle in her eye.
I have grown up in the kitchen with my Nani. She would always make a little extra dough or collect some extra grape leaves for my sister and I to prepare dinner with her. I loved every moment of those days. She would teach us her ways and tell us to be confident when we did it. In a kitchen with no fancy gadgets, just the food, our hands, and us. Those are the best memories and the best learning experiences too.
A few months ago, as I was verbally processing with my parents about culinary school. My dad looked at me and said, “Talin, your culinary school is in the other room taking a nap. You need to cook at least three meals a day with her! Learn everything you can in detail…” A whole life of “training” with her in the kitchen, preparing for many Armenian family parties…. and let me tell ya… Armenian family parties are not just 30 people.. think more like 60… is definitely good training, and there is still so much more!
With the sweetest smile she looks at me when I start “taking over” in the kitchen and says, “I know you love cooking, but can I please finish it up?” Cooking for Nani is much more than I think I will ever realize. It brings so much life to her to prepare a meal for the closest people around her. When I offer to cook for her for a change, she rarely accepts because she always wants to serve her family. She is the most servant-hearted person I have ever met. Thank you Nani for being the most servant hearted and giving woman. It has been an honor to have you as my Nani and to be around you my whole life. Genatsut! (Cheers in Armenian)