The cookbook "Lavash: The bread that launched 1,000 meals, plus salads, stews, and other recipes from Armenia" by food writer Kate Leahy, photojournalist John Lee and chef Ara Zada has been named the cookbook of the week by The National Post.
Deeply symbolic of the Armenian table, “blistered, chewy, pliable” lavash is popular throughout the South Caucasus and Western Asia, the feature says.
As the authors learned in their travels around Armenia, while there are many differences between how Eastern and Western Armenians cook, the flatbread — traditionally cooked in a tonir (underground clay oven) by small groups of women — is a constant.
“One of the things that was consistent on both sides was really making lavash,” says Leahy. “Lavash was being made in villages in the Ottoman Empire before the Genocide and it was as well in Eastern Armenia. And even though the Soviets would have loved for them to make a fluffier more Russian-style bread, no one ever stopped making lavash.”
Armenia was part of the Soviet Union from the 1920s until its dissolution in 1991.
The authors set out to write a recipe that would produce bread with similarly “satisfying results” — minus the tonir and well-practiced team of bakers — in a home kitchen.
The National Post will feature recipes from the book and an interview with its authors.