MONTEBELLO, Calif.—The smell of homemade Armenian manti filled Armenian Mesrobian School’s kitchen last Tuesday night, when the Armenian Youth Federation’s (AYF) Montebello “Vahan Cardashian” chapter kicked off its first cooking class of the year, which will soon be joined by the launch of folk dancing classes later this month.
“Cooking Armenian dishes together is a great way to learn something new and bond in a social, cultural and educational way,” said Nick Cabraloff, a cooking class participant and member of AYF Montebello.
He and others learned how to make manti, a meat and dumpling dish found in many eastern cultures, with a distinctly Armenian variant since the 13th century that is smaller in size and cooked as opposed to steamed.
“I was delighted to see such interest about Armenian cooking and the eagerness of the participants in attempting to learn the intricate process of making Manti,” said Mariam Samoniantz, a Montebello Armenian community member and former Mesrobian educator who volunteered to teach the first class and provided her personal manti recipe.
The recipe along with all the cooking instructions were made available to attendees and will also be shared on social media.
The Armenian cooking classes will return Tuesday, July 1 at 7:30pm at Mesrobian, joined by Armenian folk dancing classes starting Saturday, June 21 at12pm, at the Montebello Armenian Center (moredetails below).
The dance classes will be led by Armenian youth who are currently studying traditional Armenian folk dances and shourj par. The selection of dances that will be introduced have been restored in their ethnographic form due to the folklorist work done by Karin Traditional Song and Dance Ensemble (and many others who have worked to preserve Armenian ethnographic dances). Background on the traditional folk movements and meanings will also be discussed and explored.
Both classes are proudly offered by AYF Montebello free of charge to all participants as a service to the Armenian community.
The AYF Montebello chapter aims to provide a fun and accessible way to keep Armenian culture thriving in the Montebello Armenian community, and strongly believes culture is a means of resistance against the constant threat of assimilation and erasure of the Diasporan Armenian identity.
Classes are open to individuals of all ages in the Armenian community, as well as individuals of different backgrounds who want to learn, appreciate and continue the long history of Armenian culture.
Armenian cooking classes
When: Every first Tuesday of the month
Next class: Tuesday, July 1 at 7:30pm (Cooking dish to be announced)
Where: Armenian Mesrobian School Cafeteria (8420 Beverly Rd, Pico Rivera, CA)
Armenian folk dance classes
When: Every third Saturday of the month
Next class: Kickoff will be Saturday, June 21 at 12pm
Where: Armenian Center (420 W. Washington Blvd., Montebello, CA)
Individuals interested in signing up or inquiring further can email firstname.lastname@example.org.