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Rice-a-roni And Its Armenian Roots

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This email has been sent to us by Kitchen Sisters program which airs on National Public Radio


My name is Allie Wollner and I work with the Kitchen Sisters, award-winning, independent radio producers. We are known for our Hidden Kitchens series which airs on National Public Radio and explores the ways in which food, culture and community intertwine. Some of our past stories include Weenie Royale, a look at the impact of the WWII internment on Japanese-American culture and cuisine and An Unexpected Kitchen: The George Foreman Grill, a story of the make-shift kitchens of the homeless and low-income families centered around the George Foreman Grill and the champ's own history of hunger and poverty that led him to boxing.

Currently, we're working on a radio piece about the birth of Rice-a-Roni. The story will air July 31st on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Armenia isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Rice-a-Roni, but behind "The San Francisco Treat" is a secret history and deep connection with Armenia. The product was developed in the 1950's by the Di Domenicos, an Italian family living in San Francisco. However, the Rice-a-Roni recipe actually comes from a recipe for rice pilaf belonging to Pailadzo Captanian, the Di Domenico's Armenian neighbor who had escaped the Armenian Genocide at the turn of the century and settled in San Francisco with her 2 surviving children. In this story, the worlds of a young Canadian immigrant, an Italian pasta-making family, and an old Armenian woman converge to create the ”San Francisco Treat." The story will air July 31st on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Because this episode of Hidden Kitchens traces Rice-A-Roni back to its original roots in Armenian cuisine, we wanted to share this piece with you and hopefully with the wider Armenian community as well. Also, if you think of any other organizations that that would be interested in hearing about the Rice-a-Roni story, we'd so appreciate it if you'd pass the word along.

Thank you for your help. I hope this finds you well.


Allie Wollner

The Kitchen Sisters

916 Kearny

San Francisco, CA 94133



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