In 'It sticks to your ribs' the Pair of Gourmands share their recent BBQ competition experience. (Photo: Contributed)
In 'It sticks to your ribs' the Pair of Gourmands share their recent BBQ competition experience. (Photo: Contributed)

It sticks to your ribs!

by - Story: 41666

She says:

Did you hear that as a kid? Perhaps it was the Scottish heritage on my Mom’s side, but I remember that phrase particularly when dealing with foods that were heavy and often not very flavourful - in other words, the expression was akin to, “It’s good for you” which might as well have meant “you have to endure this”. I do actually like some of those sticky things now, like porridge for example. I like the comfort quality of it. When I was younger the wisdom of having a hearty breakfast to help last through a long day was lost on me (wisdom seems to have a hard time breaking through the invincible nature of youth).

Why, you wonder, do I bring this topic up? Is it the cooler weather that brings thoughts of porridge? Well our trip to Calgary certainly could have benefited by a bowl or two of porridge (the night Martin had to watch the BBQ it was only two degrees!) but I was thinking more about how those expressions from my youth seem to come up at those times of adversity – you know, when you least want them to. It is like having voice in your head say, “I told you so” – you are reminded that the expression is really quite true and practical. (What doesn’t kill you REALLY does make you stronger!) If you are lucky, you still have enough of a sense of humour to laugh at yourself and the chuckle you enjoy will help you get through the rest of the experience. My Dad used to say, “It builds character” and as much as I hate to admit it, he was right. And you know what else? Character builds interesting people with big hearts.

I watched Martin wade through the BBQ competition with a smile throughout the whole weekend and when I say wade, I really do mean through deep water. You see, we ended up having the rig and all the equipment in the spot where all the water for the entire plaza drained, so when the deluge of rain started we got flooded out. In the middle of the night the rig had to be moved – even though it had a fire going and meat in it. Everything in the tent had to be rearranged and the tarps had to be restrung. We were a troop of drowned rats when we got it back to some kind of working order – and then Martin had to try and catch up the time he had lost in his attention to cooking! I left him at almost 2 a.m. and when I saw him again later that morning the smile was a bit thinner but still there. If that is not character, I don’t know what is. I was so proud of him.

The team results were not what he hoped for, but all he would say was that it was a learning experience. He congratulated the winners and we had a few more chuckles as we packed up the soaking mess of stuff.

On the way home, we stopped in the Rockies to see old haunts in Banff. We sat at the Banff Springs Hotel and reminisced about our time there, recounting other stories of crazy things which I may regale you with in future columns. It occurred to me that all those things build character, and friendships – they are what life is made of. I have heard it said there is a Chinese expression, considered a curse: “May you have an interesting life”. I suppose that might be their way of saying “It builds character” but looking back now, I have to say I am glad for every ounce. I am sure that must make my Dad smile knowingly.

He says:

The BBQ competition in Calgary reminded me of some of my crazy days catering in the movie business. It sure was wet! The problem I encountered was that I could not get my mind back on track after the stupid ordeal in the middle of the night. I guess I am out of shape when it comes to dealing with food chaos. In those days it was part of my life - everyday you had to deal with some crazy situation and still cook a perfect meal. Now going to people’s homes it does create some challenges, but much smaller ones and I always manage to put out good food.

Anyway, I did learn a lot in Calgary and the big thing was, I need to make a contingency plan in case Mother Nature throws me another curve ball. Lesson learned!

We are talking about going to Seattle in March for another competition but this time I will be ready ahead of time. Looking back, I know that meat can rest very well for long periods of time without losing too much of its moisture and taste. I should have started my meats way ahead of time knowing that it was going to rain on the rig all weekend, bringing the temperature of the barbecue down. I paid for that by placing a measly 13th out of 24 teams or so. Next time we’ll do better!

In the meantime, I will enjoy even more the time I spend with my clients, where I can really enjoy cooking under normal conditions. After all, I don’t need to build character every day!

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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