I recently learned that one does not know the meaning of the word hospitality until one sits in an Armenian home. (I can attest to the spirit of generosity across all three of the South Caucasus countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – as I have been the grateful recipient of kindness from the people of all three nations.)
On this particular evening, I went in search of flowers to bring to my hosts. But first, I ran across sunflower seeds.
The man on the street jumped up, reached inside the bag, and offered me a seed. I cracked the hard, black shell between my teeth and ate the little seed inside. I smiled, said thank you (in my attempt at the local language), and made a photo snapping motion with my hand – which he kindly obliged.
When I arrived at the dinner party, the hosts immediately welcomed me to a full table of before-meal (raw) treats. At the center was a plate of walnuts and something else, which looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite identify. After closer inspection, I realized that it was A SUNFLOWER!
Can you imagine being served sunshine on a plate??!! Beautiful, natural, and unlike anything I have tried before. I reached inside the flower, pulled out a fuzzy-shelled seed, and rolled the chewy treat between my teeth.
The two sunflower seeds tasted quite different, though both provided a boost of vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium.
Not to mention the boost I received from two related acts of kindness in one day…from a land far, far away.