Happy-Gourmand

Making memories

As you read this, I will be lounging on a beach chair, or possibly blowing bubbles 60 feet under the Caribbean Sea, as I dive with the fish. 

I know, you hate me this week, because I'm on holidays. The best part, though, isn't being at the beach, it's being with friends and making new memories. Maybe you'll think I'm reaching here, but don’t you think that a good time with a good friend can be like a holiday? You feel the same boost, the same thrill to share a special moment, as you do when you sip a pretty umbrella-decorated drink by the seaside.

We are fortunate to have met wonderful people in Jamaica, and this year will be the fourth winter that we all share time together. We share a common love of the island, diving, and the local food - it binds us closer together each year. 

Most importantly, we all understand the value of quality time, and living in the moment. Sure, we all have worries at home and responsibilities that occupy our lives, but while on holiday we have a chance to rejuvenate our souls and remember why we work hard.

Some people miss home when they go away. It might be the familiarity of routine that is missed, yet when away we can learn wonderful things about new places, and about ourselves, too. 

It might be the people back at home we miss. If you go away without the kids, maybe you miss seeing them and knowing what they are up to, but you - and they - have a chance to create a new adventure, and a chance to tell about it when you're all together again. 

Everyone needs time apart once in a while. It helps give us a fresh perspective, or at least a chance to view everything with clear eyes. 

Someone once told me that we are most ourselves when we are away. I think they mean that we let down our guard when away from the pressures of regular life and are among people who don't know us or have preconceived notions about us. My philosophy has been to take advantage of it, and I've learned a lot stepping out in my own skin while away. It has made me more courageous at home.

Of course, now I need to make a food comment, don't I? 

Well, I can tell you I won't be eating a burger in Jamaica. I'll be enjoying Jamaican patties full of curry and local veggies. For breakfast I'll have ackee and saltfish (a delicious tropical fruit sauteed with the fish and served in a spicy tomato sauce), with callaloo beside my eggs. I won't eat oranges, but rather guava and papaya and local bananas. 

We always meet someone who complains that the steak is terrible, but my husband is happy to explain to them that they should rethink their eating strategy - why would you look to eat beef when a) we eat some of the best beef in the world in the US and Canada, and b) you're on an island, so eat the fish that just got caught this morning. Martin can't help it, his chef soul craves to help people make the most of their meals. 

This is my strongest plea: If you go away, try the local cuisine. It's part of the soul of a place, and you'll miss an opportunity to feel the real character of the people and place if you stick to your usual fare.

The thing I try to remember while on holiday is to Be Brown. I don't mean the tanning - that takes care of itself when it's 30 degrees all the time. I mean being like my Brown Girl, Ella. I truly believe that my little Chocolate Lab pal is a soul of a higher order, one who has discovered many of the secrets of life. 

She knows how to embrace the moment, she takes it all in, rejoicing in everything. She eats the same food every day, yet bounces in front of her dish every day as though it was lobster thermidor or an ice cream sundae. 

She approaches every creature with the initial idea that they could be friends, and only revises her opinion after firm opposition. She never regrets her exuberance, jumping in a puddle is done with total abandon, snooting through a snowbank at top speed, nose down, is a joy despite the brain freeze - yes, I shall be living my holiday with that same attitude, and hope to do it when I get home as well. I'll be missing Ella while away, but I know she would expect me to be making the most of it all.

I'll toast to your good health as I watch the sunset over the sea. I hope you're taking a moment or two to celebrate your life, wherever you are.

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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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