“My mother, Hysmig “Ronnie” Giragosian Henesian, was born on May 11, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan. She was raised from the age of 2 by her paternal grandmother, Gulumia Giragosian, while her parents, Charles and Sofia worked in their dry cleaning and tailoring shop. To my recollection, my mother’s grandmother did not teach her how to cook nor did her mother who was busy managing the family business. As with many first generation Armenian-Americans, families worked hard to survive and prosper in this new country. My mother was a self-taught cook, and she learned along the way. She learned how to cook by referring to various Armenian cookbooks, and through trial and error.”
“Seeking a warmer climate and better career opportunities, my mother and father departed Detroit with their young son, and arrived in California in 1952. My parents were one of the founding members of the St. Andrew Armenian Church in Cupertino, California. My mother held executive board positions in the Ladies Society for at least 25 years. Of her many accomplishments in the Ladies Society, she was proud of her active role in compiling and documenting recipes for the creation of The New Armenian Kitchen Cookbook.”
“My mother and Marion Paparigian were also the first women to serve on a Parish Council in the Western Diocese. For years, our mother worked diligently on behalf of the St. Andrew Armenian Church, and was awarded with the St. Nerses Shnorali Gold Medal for her exemplary service in October 2003.”
In her introduction to the New Armenian Kitchen Cookbook, Vera Sarkissian, the original cookbook chairman said, “Many people deserve thanks for helping to make this cookbook a reality. First, thanks to those who, through their generous spirit, allowed us to share in their legacy of family recipes. Their high standards of culinary preparation – and revelation of “secret” recipes – contributed greatly to making this book a treasure to cherish for many years. Thanks to our committee and especially to Mary-Louise Essaian, Arlene Hancock, H. Ronnie Henesian, and Lucille Kuzirian for a spectacular job of collecting recipes. Thanks to my Ladies Society Co-Chairman Florence Janjigian for all the support and help in innumerable areas of this book.”
“Our mother was famous for her Armenian bourma which was sold at the St. Andrew Armenian Church Food Festivals,” says Kim. “And for her delicious tourshi. Her bottles of tourshi were often auctioned at Daughters of Vartan events to raise money for that organization. Her background and history demonstrates that one does not necessarily require formal training or education to become a really great cook.”
“This was one of our mother’s tourshi recipes, she often made it for family dinners and Ladies Society events and fundraisers,” adds Kim. Ronnie passed away in 2019, but her love of entertaining, creating memorable recipes for her family, and her commitment to St. Andrew Armenian Church and Ladies Society is remembered. Her recipe is reprinted in her memory, with thanks to her daughter Kim, and sons Mark and Kirk.