Unkissable this Christmas

It isn’t every vegetarian who willingly accepts an invitation to a Khash breakfast. Khash is a bone marrow broth made with cow’s feet. The feet soaked for twelve hours in a large basin in my kitchen, and then were added to the pot to simmer overnight. The water was seasoned, but only slightly. Vegetables weren’t involved.

IMG_8587This morning upstairs, Haykush minced many cloves of garlic and mixed them with oil. She made a salad of grated kohlrabi and flat parsley. More kohlrabi and herbs were put on the table, together with homemade gherkins, a couple of sliced lemons , and rolls and rolls of lavash that had been crisped in the toaster oven. The pot was carefully carried upstairs.

Breakfast was served about 11am with tots of mulberry vodka. Aleta couldn’t drink the vodka and had to avoid the garlic because it is her Aunt’s wake this afternoon. She contented herself with sucking the jelly off one of the ankle bones– at least for now.

As I was handed my bowl of the sellotape -yellow broth, I wondered if I would be up to the challenge. The first spoonful was tricky– greasy and redolent of the farmyard, but without much flavor. I followed the family’s lead and added four large spoonfuls of garlic and two pinches of salt. I tore the lavash into old-penny-sized pieces and floated them in the soup. It went down a lot easier after that. There isn’t much that’s not helped by garlic and lavash.


Every so often we had a slice of lemon, a gherkin,or the kohlrabi as a palate cleanser. There were toasts for good health, the cook, and the new year. The vodka made Haykush’s cheeks red and warmed her bones.

“Eat” she told me “Khash will help your sore knees”

Much to everyone’s relief, I passed on the chance to suck the jelly from the bones and chew the tender meat. More for everyone else.

I am a Khash survivor. I might go back to bed for a bit. Shame I am unkissable this Christmas.

About Liz Barron

Returned US Peace Corps Volunteer (Armenia 17-19). Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger, cook, painter, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveller.
This entry was posted in Armenia, Armenian Khash, breakfast, Cross-cultural understanding, eating out, family, Food, Great weekends, travel, Village life, Vodka. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Unkissable this Christmas

  1. Catherine Robson says:

    Liz, love this story, Khash is served in Afghanistan as well–I was not as gracious as you 🙂


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