This week, as people observe the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Fugitive Waves podcast published a story about Rice-A-Roni. The genocide and the ubiquitous rice mix are linked in an unexpected way: A young couple rent a room from an old Armenian woman. The older woman, Pailadzou Captanian, teaches her young, pregnant tenant how to cook, and shares her personal stories of the Armenian tragedy – stories that she published in a book decades earlier. From these kitchen sessions comes a delicious pilaf that eventually becomes Rice-A-Roni.
Nikki Silva of The Kitchen Sisters, which produces Fugitive Waves, shared some thoughts about the piece:
“The Birth of Rice-A-Roni” was originally a shorter piece for NPR’s Morning Edition. It absolutely killed us that we couldn’t include more than a quick mention of Mrs. Captanian and her rare eyewitness account. I’ve been sitting here listening back to the tapes and crying – because of the stories, but also because it’s taken us so long to get them out there. So, finally, we’re able to include extended interviews with the librarian in Germany who translated the book, and with Mrs. Captanian’s grandson, and can begin to piece together the story of this woman’s experiences and accomplishments.
Hooray for podcasts!