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January 12, 2009


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Laurie Constantino

Hey Lucy! Happy New Year - it sounds as if you are enjoying your summer! I'm happy to see you working with grapeleaves - they really are delicious even though they've earned their reputation as a fiddly pain in the butt.

I'd don't know if this is how you did it, but they way we do grapeleaves to serve 8000 or so is to set up an assembly line. One person blanches the leaves (if necessary), one person cuts off the stems, one person lays out as many grapeleaves (rough side up) as can fit on the table, another person plops on spoonfuls of fillings, various women roll, and another person picks up the finished dolamdes and lines them up in the pan. It really works.
Even when I do grapeleaves on my own, I use this method: first I prep the leaves, then I lay them out, etc. It's a lot more efficient than doing them one at a time.




Rolling grapeleaves is a much more natural and soul-satisfying way of spending time with other women than sharing office space under ghoulish florescent light. We lost our true tribal ways, I'm afraid.

Wish, wish, wish I was there.


And here was me thinking you and AOF just had the same idea at the same time... Sounds like an amazing afternoon. Sitting here listening to the wind and rain battering against my windows and feeling more than a little envious, must say.

Going to try my hand at dolmades very soon.


Happy happy New Year! What a beautiful story and an artful harvest for the best kind of dolmades, homemade. You're off to a fabulous start!

another outspoken female

Wonderful day. I think we need more projects with women and food (Susan, that's so true about offices!) Love your variations idea. And we are in totally agreement about the more (salt, garlic etc) and less (pine nuts) for next time. Phew :)

...and there will be a next time. Shall we make a date for November 2009 now? :)

PS love the pic of the blanched leaf on the tea towel!


What a gorgeous record of that day! Your photos are, as per usual, completely sublime. And I love the sound of the Iranian variation of Dolmades - now that would be quite something.

The Moon and I had a wonderful time, (and she's now completely besotted with you!). It was the best of days, and so lovely to meet you and spend time with you.


what a lovely-sounding day
and you've reminded me that i've totally lost my Claudia Roden 'Cooking in italy' which had a really good ratatouille-like dish in it that was a high-rotation favourite


I love all the sunshine in the photos - it captures such a bright and cheerful feel to the day - food, sunshine and good company seems the perfect way to spend a sunny summer's day!


What a lovely, lovely day. I haven't used vine leaves very often, and never the fresh ones, but I do like them as a food wrapper. For one magazine I did a really easy dish of fish with a garlic and walnut paste, wrapped in vine leaves. Was really quite spectacular.

And I have to put my hands in the air as a frequent Claudia Roden user. I have Arabesque and use it regularly - either a full recipe, or at least as inspiration for something else I'm trying to do. Along with Madhur she's my favourite cookery book writer.

Astra Libris

Your story of the dolmades is beautiful - pure poetry! I was completely transported by your descriptions and beautiful photos...


This sounds like the perfect way to spend a day, and the perfect dish. We modern folk really are missing out on these old traditions, aren't we?


I have rediscovered Claudia recently. Middle Eastern Food is one of my Mums best loved books and I recently picked up an old 1968 copy in a used book store late last year. I did make 'that cake' first but then started experimenting.
Your post makes we want to cook with friends more.
The leaf photos were a beautiful, life affirmimg way to begin an otherwise grey day


Well, now I'm dreaming of summer sitting. Shelling beans, maybe a quilting circle... Still have a few more months of winter on this side of the globe, though. Sigh.

Those dolmades sound delightful, too. And, yes - dill! Lots of dill!


I am sitting here, jealously reading your post, but still enjoying it greatly!


holga? how cool. the images are indeed wonderful.

and how lovely, idyllic and soul-satisfying to spend the day (in warmth and sun - I'm so jealous) with good women friends

my mother used to make stuffed grape leaves for my dad, but I don't remember helping - perhaps I was missing something elemental

Lori Lynn @ Taste With The Eyes

Lovely indeed. Great photos.
Enjoyed the read.


C'mon, you girls can't have all the fun (and gossip), I've rolled a few in my time which leads to a shocking confession...I prefer preserved vine leaves to fresh, sounds bizarre, but there you go.

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