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Vahan Janjigian made the first falafel I ever had -- it was good and since then, I’ve had them at home, usually made from a mix available from the Near East, which is found in most grocery stores nowadays.

Janjigian’s heritage is Armenian, a country that has seen its share of political struggles for sure. Falafel is a dish that goes back to the Middle East; most historians would place it in Egypt.

When we talk about cuisine, we often call something “Middle Eastern.”The traditional definition of this area includes the countries of Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and others.

Arabs, Azeris, Kurds, Persians and Turks constitute the largest ethnic groups in this region while Armenians, Assyrians, Circassians, Copts, Druze, Jews, Maronites, Somalis form the largest minorities. That’s a lot of cultures to lump together and there are differences, of course, but one thing they have in common is food. They all enjoy falafel sandwiches, pita bread and lamb.

While many associate the gyros sandwich (lamb stuffed inside a pita) as Greek, it has a much larger reach than that one country.

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