By Robyn Kalajian
FLArmenians Cuisine Contributor
Every Sunday coffee hour follows church services in the Fellowship Hall at St. David Armenian Church. It’s a great way for parishioners to meet friends and, on occasion, enjoy a cultural event.
At our last Women’s Guild meeting, Father Paren Galstyan asked if I knew what Ghapama was. I assured him I did, and that I even knew of a song which pays tribute to this traditional Armenian dish. I showed him the existing post on this very topic – click here for instructions on how to make Ghapama.
Father Paren informed me that *Yeretzgin Anna, is quite the ghapama expert. In fact, she will be hosting coffee hour on Sunday, October 26th with her special ghapama recipe. She hosted a similar ghapama event at their previous parish in the Mid-West to the delight of the congregation.
* A special note to non-Armenian readers: Yeretzgin is a term which designates one as a priest’s wife.
What is ghapama, you ask? Father Paren was kind enough to explain it in the church e-newsletter:
“Ghapama (Armenian: ղափամա) is an Armenian stuffed pumpkin dish, often prepared during the holiday season. It is prepared by removing the flesh of the pumpkin (known as դդում in Armenian, pronounced ddum in Eastern Armenian and ttum in Western Armenian) and stuffing it with boiled rice and a variety of dried fruits such as chopped almonds, apple, corn, apricot, prunes and raisins. It is also common to pour on honey and mix in ground cinnamon or sugar. The pumpkin is then baked until it becomes soft, and then brought to the table where it is cut up and served.”
If you’re in the neighborhood on October 26th, please come to St. David Armenian Church, 2300 Yamato Rd, Boca Raton, FL. Church service begins at 10:30 AM. Then join us in the fellowship hall for a taste of this very special dish!
Congressman Gus Bilirakis Pledges to Bring Armenia Closer to Greece, Cyprus, and Israel as New Armenian Caucus Vice Chair
By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Managing Editor
Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) has been named Vice Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. In addition to playing an active role in the Armenian Caucus, notably efforts to secure Turkey’s return of confiscated Christian Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian religious property and U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, Rep. Bilirakis also serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and as Co-Chair of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Caucus, among others.
“I look forward to working with like-minded House colleagues in the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues to continue and grow the Caucus’ focus on issues of concern to the Armenian American community,” Congressman Bilirakis told FLArmenians.com. “I have long admired the tenacity and strong will of the Armenian people who have thrived despite enduring a history of suffering under repressive regimes. I am especially gratified to be a part of the Caucus as we come upon the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide – a horrific massacre of over 1.5 million innocent Armenian men, women, and children. I intend to work diligently so that the Caucus can pass a resolution that expresses a sense of Congress that is meaningful and effective.
“Finally, as Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Affairs and Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance, I am eager to help incorporate Armenia into the broader discussion of energy and security issues with Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. The Caucus has a long history of bi-partisan cooperation which I look forward to continuing as we take on new challenges in the years ahead.”
Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis is a Republican from Palm Harbor, representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, and is currently serving his fourth term in the United States House of Representatives.
As a young boy, Gus learned the importance of public service from his father, Michael Bilirakis, who represented Florida’s Ninth Congressional District from 1983 to 2006. The elder Bilirakis also instilled in his son a pride in the family’s Greek heritage, which Gus proudly carries into his career today.
Bilirakis sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the Vice Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.