Cow Feet Soup for Breakfast: Armenia's winter-time tradition of khash
By Julia Hakobyan
Used with permission from http://www.armenianow.com
If you come to Armenia in summer season you may be offered to taste the best Armenian fruits such as grapes, peaches and apricots.
But if you appear in Armenia in winter times most likely you will be invited to go for khash-a masterpiece of Armenian cuisine made by cows' feet, stomach and Armenian ingenuity. Khash is a unique experience for any foreign visitor, and whether they like it or not (and many don't), almost all enjoy the ritual of a khash party.
Khash is a gastronomic ceremony, a combination of ritual and lively heart-to-heart talks in the flavor of garlic and raddish.
To prepare totikner (this is how Armenians call cows feet) for cooking it should be stripped of hairs and clean until it turns opaque.
Then, the cow feet are boiled all night until the ingredients give its juice and piquancy to water and the flesh flakes off the bones.
Usually Armenians go for khash in the morning on weekends, because after a khash party, participants are happy, but also heavy with sleep. And, typically, not smelling so sociably acceptable. It may not be the cow feet that make a person sleepy; rather the vodka, which, real khash professionals assures is good for digestion.
Besides vodka, a proper khash must have six components: mineral water, greens, raddishes, yellow chili pepers, lavash and garlic. Minced garlic and salt - lots of both -- is put into khash right before the eating. Dry lavash is soaked in the soup until it becomes like a sponge. Hardcore khash eaters use only their fingers for consuming the odd meal, and they recommend that participants abstain from eating, early on the previous evening.