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Armenian Flavors Across America Tell Stories of The Diaspora

Los Angeles | No Passport Required

January 21, 2020

By Beatrice Alvarez

Chef Marcus Samuelsson might be our new favorite travel companion. We're now in the second season of No Passport Required, in which he travels through cities learning about people's families and cultures by eating their food. He's part historian, part ethnographer, part tour guide, and all foodie. See, he's your new favorite, too.

This week he travelled to Los Angeles and met with Armenian chefs who tell their histories with every dish they create. The episode inspired us to explore flavors of the Armenian diaspora in other cities. It also made us want to learn more about the Armenian Genocide and its lasting impacts. Because while breaking bread (or lavash, in this case) with new friends is the best thing ever, we must acknowledge the horrific past that brought us here today.

No Passport Required: Los Angeles

It is very possible that you have never seen Los Angeles like this. While there is a neighborhood called "Little Armenia," Samuelsson has us crossing freeways and going down dusty roads for incredible meals. You can find recipes for some of the featured dishes here on PBS Food.

Neighborhood Kitchens: Nuran Chavushian / Sevan Bakery

From station WGBH in Boston, Massachussetts, Neighborhood Kitchens explores New England's many cultures through food. In this episode, host Margarita Martinez visits Watertown, MA to see the specialties at Sevan Bakery. This family-run food palace has a story for each dish and we are here for it.

Armenian Blessing of the Grapes Picnic

In Fresno, California, the community is deeply connected to the agricultural calendar. And since the earliest known winery was in Armenia (estimated to be in operation just about 6,100 years ago), it makes sense that the annual blessing of the grapes happily draws Californians of Armenian descent. Explore the entire series from Valley PBS: byYou Diversity, to learn more about life in California's San Joaquin Valley.

Valley of Hope: The Armenian Journey from Terror to Triumph

California's San Joaquin Valley is home to one of the largest Armenian communities. Local station Valley PBS marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with this film that brings far away events close to home.

Armenian lamentation song: DerZor Collerinde

The folk music of Armenia is featured in a special called Musical Bridges: Nour from station TPT (Twin Cities PBS) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nour brings many Middle Eastern cultures together through each other's traditional folk music.

Armenian Genocide: 90 Years Later

Armenian Genocide: 90 Years Later

in 2019, the University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies co-produced this film about the Armenian Genocide with TPT (Twin Cities PBS). In it, we go back to the year 1915 from academic and anecdotal viewpoints.

Don't forget you can watch all of No Passport Required online or on the PBS Video App anytime! Join us again next week when Samuelsson takes us to Houston, Texas.

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