Author Archives: fdarden

Armenian Coffee Recipe

Main Piece: 

Informant- “ I would like to share with you my culture’s coffee, Armenian Coffee. The first step is you add 1 cup of water per person. I am making this for me and my mother. I added a little bit of extra water because you want to make sure the cup is filled to the brim. 

So then I use columbian coffee and add it just a little bit over a spoonful of coffee. Add a little more so about 3 spoons. I like my coffee very strong. You can use coffee that is ground up very finely. 

Then start the stove on high and let the water boil.

It is important that you use the proper coffee cup in order to complete the fortune reading at the end.  You also use Jazve coffee pot which is also used in many cultures, Armenians, Turks, Persians. 

So when it is boiling you can let the foam break or keep it. I like the foam because it is full of tons of antioxidants and tastes really good. 

So now my coffee is done and I will pour it in. Make sure to fill the cup all the way to the top.” 

Background: The informant learned the Armenian Coffee recipe from her mother. In the video, she explains that she is making a cup for her and her mother. Armenian coffee is meant to be shared, an important way to bond with family and friends. 

Context: This piece was collected from a full tutorial video created by my informant. The informant lives with her family in Los Angeles and is 20 years old. The tutorial describes the steps to creating Armenian coffee. It is too long to upload so I have included an outline of the audio. 

Thoughts: This is an interesting tradition that is important to her family. She spends time making coffee for her grandmother and mother and remembers times they made her coffee. This recipe is important to the Armenian culture and is recycled through generations. 

Champagne Cork Game

Main Piece: Informant recalls the game of catching the champagne cork

Informant- So whenever we have champagne to open my sisters and I immediately run outside and prepare for the fun cork catching game. My father stands on one side of the yard and my siblings and I wait on the other. He opens the champagne, the cork flies, and we all scramble around trying to catch it. Whoever catches the cork is given good luck! 

Interviewer- When do you play the game? 

Informant- Usually whenever my dad pulls out the champagne, we are celebrating something. Whether it is good weather, luck with work, or a simple good mood the champagne represents happiness and celebration in my family. This drink comes with the fun lucky game of catching the cork. 

Interviewer- Do you try to win? Do you believe in the luck of the cork? 

Informant- Oh I always try to win. I love any opportunity to mess around with my siblings. I usually win the cork and love the feeling of catching it. I dont know is I particularly believe that it brings me luck but I feel great and love the celebration! 

Background: The informant is the eldest daughter of a large family with two younger sisters. She recalls playing the game with her sisters many times throughout childhood. She explains that as the eldest child she always wins and gets the corks good luck. She learned this game from her father and shares it with her friends. She remembers using the game as a playful release, pushing over sibling or wrestling for the best spot to catch it. The game is important to her because it is a happy way to celebrate opening champagne with friends or family. 

Context: The informant is 25 years old and the oldest of three daughters. The piece is recorded from her memory of playing the game. She recalls playing the game outside because the cork could break something or the champagne could spill. The game is usually played with a group of 2 or more ‘catchers’ and one person opening the bottle. She explains that her father is usually the one opening the bottle and she takes that role when playing the game with friends. 

Thoughts: This game was an important part of their childhood connecting the siblings as well as the father with his kids. It is important for parents to pass down fond memories, connecting them to their own childhood. The game is very simple and the folk belief is carried with the lucky powers of the cork. I am unsure if the player who catches the cork is given luck in reality. But this does give the person a chance to be celebrated. 

Camp Merrie Woode Table Prayers

Main Piece: 

Informant- Here are the breakfast, lunch, and dinner prayers. Each is sung in a large group and before eating. 

Breakfast prayer- “ god has created a new day, silver and green and gold, live that the sunset may find us, worthy his gift to hold” 

Lunch prayer- “for health and strength and daily food we give ye thanks o lord”

Dinner- “evening has come the board is spread thanks be to god who gives us bread”

Interviewer- Do you sing the prayer songs outside of camp?

Informant- I usually only say the prayers with other Merrie Woode girls. But when I come home from camp though, I find myself saying those prayers for a while. They are stuck in my head and are a habit. I hold on to what it means beyond just the prayer. It connects me to god but also connects me and my Merrie Woode family as a whole. It reminds me of being in the dining hall with everyone. 

Background: The informant is 18, a counselor at Camp Merrie Woode. She began attending Camp Merrie Woode at age 7 as a camper and returned every summer. Camp Merrie Woode is a catholic all-girls Summer camp. The Merrie Woode community is extremely important to her and represents a family. The prayers are an important connection for her to be thankful for her Merrie Woode family and to God. The prayers hold a religious aspect but also reflect the larger group of loving people that the camp. 

Context: This prayer is sung by a large group of people at mealtime at Camp Merrie Woode. The dining hall is a large room that seats over 200 people. The campers range from 6-13 and counselors are usually young adults. The groups sing the songs together in unison. The camp is in session only during the summer months. The camp is located on a lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina

Thoughts: The oral tradition of dinner prayers allows for multiplicity and variation. This version of the dinner prayer is used in the specific Camp Merrie Woode community and creates a unity during the sacred time of prayer. The repetition of these phrases is important because it creates a community that sings and prays in unison. The large group of people participating in the prayer creates a powerful experience with loud voices echoing through the dining hall. This experience is an important aspect of singing prayer. The importance and meaning of the prayer represent the camp community. Even while not at camp, people sing this prayer and are reminded of the strong bond they share with the Camp Merrie Wood community. 

“Hotty Toddy” Ole Miss Greeting

Main Piece: 

Informant: Hotty Toddy is a saying that represents an Ole Miss rebel. 

Interviewer: What does the phrase mean? 

Informant: Hotty Toddy is a rallying cry, an identifier as to who you are and who you support, it crosses boundaries in ways that only sports and the unconditional love of a team or a college can. If you say Hotty Toddy you are showing your support for the Ole Miss Rebel community

Interviewer: When did you first use or hear the phrase? Do you still use the phrase even though you are no longer a student at Ole Miss?

Informant: I heard the phrase when I first attended Ole Miss and started using it immediately and felt connected to the community. And yes of course! I scream hotty toddy when I am excited or cheering on or complimenting a friend. I will continue to use the phrase for the rest of my life!

Interviewer: When was the last time you said Hotty Toddy or encountered the phrase? 

Informant: Recently in NYC I heard a stranger yell “Hotty Toddy” my way when wearing an Ole Miss hat. I yelled it back and felt an immediate connection. This made the large city feel smaller because I knew my Ole Miss family extended to NYC as well. 

Background: The informant shares that she learned the saying from peers and word of mouth from her time studying at Ole Miss. She explains the phrase represents a community around the school. The phrase is used as a greeting. She used the phrase as a student and continues to use the phrase in different scenarios. 

Context: The information was collected between informant and interviewer as an interview recalling times the phrase was used. The informant is a recent graduate to Ole Miss and recalls using the phrase numerous times. 

Thoughts: This saying “Hotty Toddy” has varied meaning and is used in many different scenarios. The phrase is used as a greeting, cheer, or secret message. “Hot Toddy” has changed over time. The first documented evidence of the phrase (then written as “Heighty! Tighty!”) appeared in a November 19, 1926 copy of the student newspaper, The Mississippian. Although originated in sports, the saying has expanded beyond sports and campus connecting the Ole Miss community in weddings, funerals, on social media platforms, and every day life. 

Southern California Slang: “Hesh”

Main Piece:

Interviewer: What does Hesh mean?

Informant- It’s a casual word I use when talking about a vibe or aesthetic. I would use it as an adjective to describe someone or their Instagram. It means that someone has a causal aloof style and vibe. Like they don’t really care or have a skater look to them. Someone who is hesh is down to earth and goes with the flow. Usually, they never look into the camera in pictures or post photos of aesthetic things. 

Interviewer- Does it describe people and places? How would you use it?

Informant-  It describes a person and their style, not a place. I would say, “ She is so chill and has a hesh vibe.”

Interviewer- Who do you use the word with? Would some people not understand you? 

Informant- I only use the word with my friends and feel people on the eat coast wouldn’t understand it. 

Background: The informant shares that she used the word frequently in casual situations with her southern California friends. She learned the word from her southern California friends.  The word represents a style and aesthetic of a casual skater vibe. The word is an adjective used to describe the character of a person. She likes to repeat the word because it describes a characteristic that other adjectives don’t capture. She explains that she and her friends all understand what it means and communicates. It is an esthetic that she and her friends strive to have. 

Context: The interview above was taken in a casual setting as the informant recalling times using the word hesh. 

Thoughts: The word ‘Hesh’ is a slang used in with young adults in Southern California. The slang word describes a vibe and character that other words can not. This aspect brings exclusivity to the group that uses the word. The aesthetic of Hesh has positive connotations and is a popular ‘cool’ term. The word has original roots from the 1980’s LA skater community and subcultures.  From the informant’s description, the term also carries a digital aspect applying to social media platforms like Instagram. She describes Instagram aesthetics that strive to be hesh with their posts.