Rich Food, Poor Food

by - Story: 31994

She says:

The topic of money came up in various conversations this week, and of course as I am generally won't to do, I connected it to food. I decided this week I wanted to talk about rich food versus poor food. Now I don't want you thinking that I am a glutton, someone who is greedy or voracious about food and drink rather I would hope you could use the term 'gourmand' since I believe if anything is in excess it is possibly my enjoyment of those two things. Perhaps if you will indulge me by letting me share another story, I can explain.

They say there are those of us destined to live life in the lap of luxury, and then there are others that will struggle through and work for what they get. Such is the way averages are made up but somewhere in the middle are opportunities for fortunes to change and for people on both sides to glimpse another reality. I think food is a great way we can experience this. You see, a hot dog from a street vendor is just as much of a novelty and an adventure as a fancy dinner at a four star restaurant, depending on what is normal for you. And of course, some of us are more adventurous than others.

I grew up loving food because of the variety and the range of experiences it offered. I was fortunate to go out to restaurants at a young age, and I don't mean White Spot or Earl's (no offense to either establishment intended). That didn't mean that I had carte blanche however. One of the first things I remember learning about choosing a menu item was if you are not paying the bill, don't choose the most expensive thing, unless you are told it's okay. I should note too, that at home we did eat things like tuna casserole and finnan haddie (smoked haddock that came in a can and was served with toast, and canned tomatoes). I loved those meals too in a more everyday way. That lifestyle fuelled my passion for splurging but it was something special, to be enjoyed to the utmost since it didn't come very often. My sense of gourmandize was born!

Will you think I am crazy if I tell you that I once spent twenty dollars on a handful of chocolates at a store in uptown New York? (I can still remember how silky they felt on my tongue, and the smile on Martin's face as he had his.) How about the dinner we had in Chicago that could have paid for a TV? (It was worth every penny, as I had wanted to go there for years and we had a private tour of the cellar and the kitchen after the meal.) If I tell you that the memory of the quiche I baked once for a picnic under the stars at Kits Beach is as vivid in my mind, would you believe me? Saving for those exotic treats was worth the work, but my memories over the years have taught me that the splurge still happens if you are a gourmand, because the enjoyment comes from what you strive to make extravagant, not the amount of money spent or dishes used.

I guess what I am trying to say is this: the money to splurge is great when you have it, but the heartfelt honesty of simple food has great power too. I only know the perspective from my side of the tracks so you may say I am trying to justify the fun of not having money all the time. You know the old saying, "Money doesn't buy happiness"- mostly said by those who don't have much money and are trying hard to be happy. Well, perhaps that does ring true a bit, but I like to think the rich folks like a hot dog now and again, even if it is to say they were hanging out with the folks on "the other side of the tracks".

Let's face it, no one calls fancy foods like foie gras "comfort foods" so us poor folks must have a corner on something! Don't let that fool you though as this gourmand would never turn down the chance to trade a bit of comfort for a rich new adventure on a dinner plate.

He says:

In professional kitchens, we also have many sayings, and one of them is "You can't buy shrimps for the price of lobster." I like lobster as much as anybody else, but I can be happy with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and a piece of bread.

Don't let your income spoil your meal! Treat yourself with food as often as you can. If you need to only have a 20" TV but eat well, so be it. Your TV will not make you live longer, but good food will.

Now, if budget was never a consideration, I would still want to eat the same way as I am eating now, but I would perhaps change some of the brands I buy! For example, organic food is still a bit expensive for my chef's budget on a daily basis. By force of habit, I always look for deals (organic or not) before I buy something. I never ask for deals - sometime I get deals and sometimes I don't. I grew up eating KFC as a kid and canned green peas were my source of green vegetable. So, I can be happy with simple things and see the value of being able to eat whatever I want now.
Kristin and I shop at the Lakeview Heights grocery store, Save-on-Foods, Extra Foods, Valoroso, L&D Meat, Hooked on Seafood, Artisan Bread, Cod Father, Matterhorn Bakery and a few more and I support the people that support me and give me a great service.

My wallet is an intricate part of my meals, but I do not let it tell me what I can and cannot eat. We eat good food, and Kristin will eat all leftovers for lunch at work. We eat high end dinners like rack of lamb, jumbo scallops and gourmet desserts once a week. The rest of the week we eat well-balanced simple healthy foods prepared at home with love!
Spend it on food!

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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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