Indian Orchard – Making tourshi (pickled vegetables) at the church are (left to right) Salpie Cavros, Vartan Derounian, Ardemis Babaeghian Walen, Leo Vartanian, Claudia Muradian-Brubach, Liz Setian, Tanya Garibian, Yeretskin Marineh Kirakosyan, Sonia Arakelian and Gary Setian. (Submitted photo)
Several weeks before the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic ChurchArmenian Bazaar, church member and bazaar volunteer Leo Vartanian is busy making tourshi (pickled vegetables) so that it will marinate and be ready to eat at bazaar time.
“There is no question that food is one of the many ways that an ethnic group displays its unique culture,” he said.
This year the bazaar will take place Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 135 Goodwin St. in Indian Orchard. It will feature homemade Armenian food and pastries, pickled vegetables, shish kebab and chicken kebab dinners.
“Recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation” help church members provide food for the event, he said. These foods include shish kebob (barbecued pieces of lamb, peppers and onions) and losh kebob (barbecued burgers of a lamb/beef combination with the right amount of spices); both will be available as a dinner with rice pilaf and a salad or delicious green beans. Other foods include choreg (sweet rolls), paklava (layered filo dough with nuts and sugar water), khadayif (sweetened baked shredded dough) and lehmejun (baked disc of dough covered with ground meat and vegetables).
“Many of these foods are prepared by a number of Middle Eastern countries, but each has a special way of preparing them with unique ingredients. I think ours is the best,” Vartanian said.
In addition to the food, there will be Armenian cookbooks for sale and booths selling scarves, handbags and jewelry.
Claudia Muradian-Brubach, a Board of Trustee member and parishioner, said the event is timed so that parishioners and friends can stock up on Armenian baked goods and other items for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Vartanian plans to buy several things at the bazaar, including shish and losh kebob at mealtime. “I will also buy something sweet to top off the meals and buy several dozen lehmejun to take home for the holidays and/or quick meals,” he added.
“This event allows the outside community to experience our Armenian culture that has been preserved for decades by picnics and bazaars at our church,” Muradian-Brubach said.
She grew up in the church and spent each bazaar with her parents and siblings eating and visiting with their Armenian friends. “Now I love spending the day with my kids. I spend a lot of time working at the bazaar like many of our other church members, but it is very gratifying knowing we can hold such an enjoyable event for the Armenian community and the community around us and be able to raise funds to continue promoting programs at the church,” she said.
Proceeds from the bazaar are used for programming, other events, maintenance of the church and other church expenses.
St. Gregory Armenian Church was built in 1934 and has been an active church since then. The first building was a modest structure that was expanded in 1957. The current structure was built in 1968 and has typical Armenian architecture, resembling two famous churches in Armenia — St. Hripsime and Aghtamar.
The bazaar is one of the church’s two annual fundraising events. The other event is an annual Father’s Day picnic in June.
“The atmosphere at the bazaar is very festive. Parishioners, friends and relatives from out of town will be here to partake in the delicious food as well as to visit with local friends and relatives — like a reunion in many cases,” Vartanian said.
Admission and parking for the bazaar are free.
For take out, call ahead: 543-4763.