Notes From Hairenik
April 2, 2013

Yesterday our April Fools baby turned two years old. Can’t believe how fast time is flying by. He’s getting tall, learning new words every day and is even beginning to count and recite the English alphabet.

Naturally we had a birthday party for him, with food prepared by my master chef wife Anush, who can prepare anything from traditional Indian cuisine to the most delicious, savory summer dolma I have ever tasted.

She decided to go Italian and made chicken parmesan, and lots of it. Less people came by then we expected so only a quarter of it was eaten. She layered paper-thin boneless chicken breasts that she had breaded and fried with a mix of shredded mozzarella and sulghuni cheeses. The effect was unlike any other chicken parm I’ve ever tried, with the succulent meat dissolving on the tongue at first bite. Simply fantastic. There was a fabulous beet salad and focaccia bread, too, which didn’t last very long on the plate.

For the pasta dish she made su beureg, which was made with mini shell pasta mixed with a combination of small curds (essentially cottage cheese without all the guar gum and other dubious ingredients they put in that stuff), sour cream, some parsley and basil, then baked. The flavor was nearly identical to my grandmother’s.

But Anush is also a superb pastry chef, now working occasionally for a Chinese restaurant down the street, so she insisted on making the desserts--a cheesecake with a raspberry compote topping, French chocolate tart served with fresh whipped cream and apple strudel. The photos will do the explaining. She never fails to shock.

Each morning when I look at my son sleeping sweetly beside me I always remember how lucky and extremely proud I am to be a father. Whenever we play or eat together I remind him that he’s my “best buddy” lest he forgets. Now that I work from home we spend a good three-quarters of the day together and I certainly don’t mind being with him for so long. I realize I will have to take another office job at some point, but for the time being we’re enjoying each other’s company very much. I never get tired of him, even when he’s screaming seemingly about nothing (the “terrible twos” started several months early). Perhaps that’s the way it should be for a dad.

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