A Pair Of Gourmands

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Christmas Traditions!

He says:

Christmas is just around the corner and if you want to boycott turkey this year, it’s fine with me as long as it’s done right. Don’t go replacing the traditional turkey meal with some obscure dish that no one will recognize. My suggestion to you a nice veal tenderloin, duck breast, rack of lamb, a prime rib roast reef with bones still attached or even some lobster tails, Go all out!

Why not? I am all for traditions, but I am also all for excitement, exhilaration and innovation - bottom line, something new. I bet you, if you take the time to really cook your meal properly, your guests will be talking about this amazing meal for many years to come. Oh, and if you screw it up, well they will be talking about it even longer. No pressure, right?

I am planning rack of lamb on Christmas Eve with Dijon, herbs and bread crumbs - simple, but tasty. I will most likely roast some vegetables and potatoes to go with it. Dessert may very well be sugar pie. What can I say - it’s a Quebec thing!

There you have it, happy holidays to everyone, and please, if you are low on ideas, just send me an email…

She Says:

We spent an evening this week experiencing an all-time Christmas favourite with a new twist, so I think the theme of traditions is a great one. I am a big fan of Christmas, and I still believe in the spirit of the season, so this is close to my heart.

I have to disagree with Martin this week and say that Christmas is all about traditions. It is many things to many people, but everyone has their special memories of Christmases that they cherish forever. It is important to keep those traditions alive. Your favourite Christmas cookies, the special decoration for the top of the Christmas tree, when you open your presents… all those things are part of what keeps Christmas spirit alive.

So, if turkey is necessary for you to keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart, then don’t throw the stuffing out. But if you need a dose of something new, then go ahead and try that too. New traditions have to start somewhere, after all. Did you know that one story behind the Christmas tree is said to be that it was a modern replacement for the Yule log, which was burned to fend off the darkness of winter? Your prime rib or lobster could be part of the new family Christmas story. It is the embracing of our traditions that makes them so dear to our hearts. What we call Christmas spirit is the magic that comes from keeping the traditions alive, whether they be new or old.

Scrooge himself said that he needed to live in the past, the present and the future to fuel the spirit of Christmas. There is no better man whose advice we should take at this time of year, I think.

So, in closing this week, I will offer a favourite holiday treat with a twist – Cape Brandy Pudding (a South African tradition much like Christmas pudding but easier to make and a favourite with many of the men!). And I highly recommend if you read this before the weekend is out, go see the traveling version of A Christmas Carol, “Discover the District with Dickens.” Singing a verse or two of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” with Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim will do wonders for your soul.

Chef Martin’s Tip 40 - Cutting boards, get one!

If you don’t have a cutting board, it’s time for you to invest $20 to $40 and buy one.

If you have one but it is warped or stained, buy another one.

If you have one that is made out of glass, stop using it today. Glass boards are purely decorative, not made to be cut on…

Plastic or wood works…
Size does matter! It has to be large enough to hold your food if you can only put one onion on your board, it’s too small.

Colour boards are a smart thing in a kitchen: one for fish, one for vegetables, one for chicken and one for meat. This is the best way to avoid cross-contamination.

Washing your board properly is EXTREMELY important.

This is the number one place in your kitchen where bacteria grows. Your board should be sanitized after each use. To wash it, use a solution of water and bleach (2/3 water, 1/3 bleach).

Run your dish sponges, cutting boards, and brushes in your dishwasher once a week to kill all germs…

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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