Sitting across the table from me was a Turkish ex-patriot, a mature suit and tie Princeton professor type we'd sat down to share lunch conversation with at the faculty dining facility. Turks and Armenians have a lot in common cuisine-wise, so armed with the general background handed to me by my in-laws and Turkish friends to start small talk, I somehow opened the exchange with Turkish food as the icebreaker. What emerged was a wonderful little anecdote about his memories of the homemade sausage his mom used to make full of all these spices that seemed unusual to me at the time (where's the meat?)memories that had finally inspired him to action. The details did not stay with me but somehow he had tracked down an old used sausage machine for next to nothing and then scored a whole bunch of sausage casings from some ethnic butcher who wasn't really selling them to the public but finally decided he could make an exception for this one time. With no recipe to work with and no past sausage making experience, he inventively recreated something that compared favorably with what he remembered from the old country. I had no idea what he was so lovingly describing at the time, but found out a few months later.
John Wheeler, who had been my sophomore modern physics teacher some three decades earlier had kindly invited me to lunch that day during my trip up from Philly to ask him about some obscure bits of Princeton mathematical history. Mentor of Richard Feynman, friend of Einstein, and a grand old man of relativity physics responsible for coining the term "black hole", he'd brought the Italian physicist Remo Ruffini to Princeton who in turn later granted me part time ex-patriot status in Italy. An offer I couldn't refuse. (Actually I just fell into it after dumb luck threw us together.) Johnny, as Remo called him (but I could never get beyond "Professor Wheeler"), had recognized the familiar face as we looked around for a table at the informal Prospect dining room. Apparently he knew this engineering economics guy from another university connection other than lunch. And so I got the sausage story.
I'd known my in-laws did sausage once in a great while but skeptically paid little attention. After all, sausage is like the garbage can of the meat worldthe Rodney Dangerfield of my food product line-up. So they made this Armenian sausage and insisted that we take some home. Ani said it was good with scrambled eggs. Wouldn't hurt to try. We're not really big egg breakfast people. Occasionally on weekends. Omelettes more often than scrambled eggs. So...
Our first pass is from our most reliable Middle Eastern cookbook by Linda Chirinian which the in-laws say is a good start.