(Photo: Contributed)
(Photo: Contributed)

Coming of age

by - Story: 63221

This past week my stepdaughter, Chloae, turned 18, thus officially becoming an adult in many ways. As I pondered the poignancy of that it occurred to me that as young people come of age, food is something that tends to change too. Is there such a thing as adult food?

I guess you could take sides on this issue: there is the serious, responsible side of food that most people would class as “mature” (some might say “boring” but that just depends on your perspective, doesn’t it?); then there is the lighthearted, whimsical side of food. If there was some kind of tradition about representing the passage into adulthood with food, then it seems that the serious side would prevail. People are supposed to eat responsible meals as they get older (protein and vegetables, not meaning French fries and ketchup). We are supposed to know that too much unhealthy food is bad for us, but then we can choose when we want to have junk food, or as we often put it as adults, “reliving old memories”. (You know, like the old fashioned milkshakes you see at some diner while on summer holidays, or the extra large tub of popcorn AND licorice enjoyed at a summer blockbuster movie…)

There is an adventurous side to food too, and I think this gets explored as we start to come of age. I remember a summer in my teens where my cousin and I made Dagwood sandwiches of all size and description, with ingredients that we would have previously snubbed. Red onion slices became an exotic addition to ham sandwiches, and eating cheese that didn’t come in its own plastic sleeve all of a sudden was cool. We definitely wanted to be cool, so we tried all the fancy adult things in the fridge and the cupboards.

I think if any kind of food or drink is associated with the “coolness” of adulthood, it is alcohol. Quite often the ritual involves nothing more than the theory of “more is better”, but I wonder if perhaps the aftermath is bittersweet as we usually discover that overindulging just because you can is rather anti-climatic. The maturity there comes in learning how powerful a hangover can be; you discover that as an adult you can punish yourself for your bad behavior!

Maybe we do have rituals that are not presented at a coming of age party but are unwritten rules. As I seem to recall, once I got older my parents just took it for granted that I WOULD eat my broccoli. Looking back, I suppose it was akin to giving up my blankie when my little brother was born; I just knew deep down that I was expected to step up to the plate (up to the table?) and be a big girl. I was fortunate to have parents that cared about good food, and they taught me a great deal about cooking and eating while I was growing up. As an adult, I love to share that passion with young people and see them discover new tastes.

As an adult you always have to consider being responsible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. We are off to Wauconda, Washington, for our yearly sock hop trip this weekend, and I fully intend to indulge in some homemade pie with ice cream mid-way through the dance. We’ll stop at Bonaparte Lake for their classic “greasy spoon” burgers, and I am sure we’ll stop at the local grocery store for some silly treats to have on the road. When Chloae was younger and she joined us on the trip, I know that food was part of the memory she formed. She won’t be coming this year as she has her own adult responsibilities now, but I am glad that we didn’t forget to show her a taste of our nostalgia as she was growing up.


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.

Previous Stories