Food and the community have become the key to maintaining cultural traditions for the thousands of Armenians who moved to Argentina.
“For waves of immigrants arriving in Argentina between 1911 and 1953, the stately waterfront building was a place to stay while working out plans for employment and accommodation,” BBC reported.
According to the source, the most of these immigrants came from Spain or Italy seeking a better life during economic depression and unrest in their countries. But the doors of Argentina were also open, including for Armenians fleeing the massacres in the Ottoman Empire.
“Lucy Balassanian de Dergarabetian, 91, is keeping those food traditions alive. She was one of the 10,000 Armenians who settled in Buenos Aires in the mid- to late 1920s – at least in a manner of speaking. Her mother was pregnant with her when she arrived in South America in 1927. The port of Buenos Aires was temporarily closed to new immigrants at the time, making it illegal to enter, so Dergarabetian’s parents initially disembarked in Montevideo, Uruguay,” the source noted adding that the young couple was eager to get to Buenos Aires, where they had heard an Armenian community was already taking shape.
“To get around the port closure, they made arrangements to enter Argentina on a clandestine 12-person fishing boat, travelling under the cover of night,” BBC added noting that “it’s fitting that one of the family’s favourite recipes is manti – meat-filled ravioli that are shaped like little boats, baked in a rich broth and served with garlicky yoghurt.”
According to Dergarabetian, she learnt how to make manti with her mother, and she learnt from her mother.
“Then I taught my own daughters how to make it, and they taught their children,” she added.
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