With the Spicy Dolma, Maral Arslanian Follows Her Twist for Armenian Comfort Food


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In the course of a few years working in the fashion business, Maral Arslanian failed everything from earnings to design and production management. At 2019, her dream profession was at full speed, however also the 32-year-old found herself needing a shift. It was just a nagging feeling — until last year when the pandemic struck and, like many other jobless professionals, Arslanian started to encircle her life exactly the best manner they could. “Six months prior to being furloughedI was not happy about my job anymore and I did not know exactly what the next step was going to be,” Arslanian tells New Times. “When COVID struck, I realized it had been the kick in the rear I needed to finally make the move I have been awaiting. “Through conversation with her mother and also an Armenian friend, she understood her new career route lay in her heritage. Descended from a group of survivors of the genocide, Arslanian was born in Argentina. Between South America, Syria, and Greece, her family found refuge after leaving their homeland. While her mother, mother, and aunts were cooking for the family, Arslanian could sit in the kitchenlearning the fundamentals of cookery. “I watched them cook and cook, and that I memorized their rituals,” she says. “It is an edible tradition I continue to cherish. The continuing practice of dishes such as this gives Armenian identity an opportunity to continue present” Last year Arslanian started a cooking company, the Spicy Dolmaout of her flat in Bay Harbor Islands, initially offering small batches of mante to her buddies, who longed for an authentic homemade version of the classic beef dumplings. Her Instagram account, which she set up as an electronic recipe book, became her display countertop, and it did not take long for orders to enter.


Photo from Eugenio Mazzinghi

Arslanian is now spending two to three full days every week in her home . She preps and cooks all singlehandedly, packaging dishes and handing them into takeout customers, or delivering them in her automobile on Saturdays. “I needed to understand how to do this month to month,” she says. “I started with 12 dishes for 12 people, now I’m up to 25 to 45 to 70 pans a week. “Recently, Arslanian’s former employer provided her job backagain. She refused. What started as a means of earning ends meet through a pandemic has become a vocation. Pricing her meals by $18 to $25 and supplying catering services, Arslanian says she’s taking home the same amount she had been from her office job. She says she’s thinking about moving the performance to the kitchen of an events area at St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Cooper City. “Even if I was not earning as much, I’d still not go back to the workplace occupation,” she says. “I don’t need to sit at a desk eight hours a day ahead. The chance to join more and more into the community has been more fulfilling than I have ever dreamed that a project could be.” Most rewarding of all, she says, is the opportunity to put her heart and soul to the cooking that shaped her childhood. “Armenian food, such as in most cultures, is tremendously elaborate — there’s a history to it that goes beyond what can be explained,” she says. “This is a conglomerate of all of the places we have been a community, a community that rebuilt worldwide in the kind of a diaspora. For some, I believe what’s intriguing is the idea of tasting something fresh. For others, such as me, it is the idea of obtaining a taste of home. @the_spicy_dolma. Orders can be set via

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