By Ayfer Tuzcu Ünsal
                                                                              Istanbul, Turkey
I met Lucille Hamparian through Armen Aroyan. She is teacher of Armenian descent whose roots go deep in Kharpert. She came to Turkey three times with Armen’s tour groups and she liked our country a lot.
But on her last visit visit, for reasons beyond her control, she was very disappointed and unhappy. Lucille lives in Canada and although she is retired she still substitute teaches in her previous school. My wish is to bring her once again to Turkey and have her leave with positive memories.

I got acquainted with Lucille while I was translating articles in Armen Aroyan’s book. Lucille, with her knowledge of the English language, was helping to edit Armen’s book at the time. We tried to do the translations from Turkish together. I should rather say that I read the English version of the articles to her and she edited them. Most of our translations consisted of my writings about Armen and Armenians. Thus, Lucille was able to know what my interests were and what I wanted to write about. Currently, she is helping to edit my new book.
Since most of my writings eventually end with foodstuff, we continue to exchange recipes. During her last trip she had lentil soup at a restaurant in Kars, which she had particularly liked a lot. Although she did not even know the name of the soup she had the ingredients written down which she sent to me. Only then did I realize that it was Ezogelin soup. After I finish this article I will send her the recipe.
Ezogelin soup is, in fact, the lentil soup we all know. Cooks in Aintep, make it more interesting by adding tomato paste, garlic, dried mint and red pepper paste and call it Ezogelin. While travelling from Gaziantep to Adana in the 1990s, I had lentil soup at a restaurant that belonged to the Sech Otobus firm. This soup was extremely delicious. Kadri Maz is the owner of the restaurant. When I inquired about this Ezogelin soup, he said it was made with the broth from the leftover bones of the beef or lamb that was used to make lahmadjoon.   I have made soups all my life and some very delicious ones too, but I could never match the taste of the one I had at that restaurant. Then I talked with Arif Develi in Istanbul about his recipe that we were to publish in the Food and Wine journal. This is what Arif said, “After you boil the lentils, you sauté the tomato paste, garlic, pepper paste and mint in butter or margarine and add it to the lentils.” I tried it and it was very tasty. We sent this recipe to the Food and Wine Journal. I also included it in my book. At last I could match the taste at the Sech Restaurant. A majority of my readers thanked me for this recipe. Everyone who had tried to make it was extremely satisfied. Now it is Lucille’s turn to become a member of the Ezogelin club.
Translated by Diana Hanimyan [ WELAJANS - V.Beyazgul ]