Sustenance for the Soul

A few years ago I wrote a column called “Soul Food”, about friends I have that sustain me, and how interestingly enough, food is an integral part of each friendship. I was struck again this week at the passing of a birthday how much food and friends are such an important part of who I am, so I figured it was time to share some of those thoughts again. Here’s hoping my musings inspire you to contact an old friend to create a new memory …

There was no cake or balloons at this party. It was a simple walk at sunrise that was the party. The birthday that happened this week was for my four-legged pal, Ella. She turned four, which for a dog is like turning 30 – you are in your prime. And I can tell you, Ella is enjoying every minute of it. Dogs are good at living in the moment, and Chocolate Labradors are particularly good at it. Ella is like Buddha; she has mastered the art of being entirely carefree and can take pleasure in absolutely anything, but especially FOOD! Labradors live by their tummies, and so food is nirvana. When we walk in the orchard in the morning, she can slurp the dew off the grass with total delight, like it was a fairy potion. If I’m picking raspberries in the garden she will gently take one I give her as if it was a precious delicacy to be savoured. Ella can make an everyday breakfast seem like a trip to Disneyland – she jumps, and smiles, and runs to the bowl… when she waits until she’s told to start eating, she is so excited she can’t look at the bowl itself. (Imagine Winnie the Pooh with Tigger’s bounce.) And when I say “everyday breakfast”, I mean it’s the exact same kernels of salmon & rice dog food every day. (This is a great morning lesson if I ever think of complaining about what’s in the fridge.) Ella is all about life being wonderful right now. It’s hard not to smile when I am around her.

I do have people friends too, and we all have special food memories we share. I got to see my good friend Sue, and her mom, over the past few weeks. Sue and I used to share lattes at her house in Calgary, but she doesn’t drink coffee anymore. You know what? Nothing changed. We can still stand in the kitchen and have our cereal (it’s best if you blend more than one kind in the bowl) and work on solving the problems of the world. I love that. And her mom was just as good at jumping in, too. I guess I know where Sue gets it from.

I think that food is such a huge part of what sustains me because of my family. When I was a kid we had many great food experiences – picnics in wonderful places, cooking our own home-grown veggies, learning to cook exotic foods as we learned about places or people… I suppose, just like with Ella or Sue, it has always been about living in the moment. Eating is an “in the moment” experience, and it’s one we have to do on a regular basis. I really like the idea of enjoying that big a part of my life. Last week I got to savour a barbecued dinner with my family again and it felt just like old times. We are one fewer now, and all a lot older, but the laughter sounded the same and the love that came out of sharing the meal together was as magical as I remembered. I was satiated not just from the lamb chops, but from the soulful companionship.

Food can even help you learn about yourself. I have consumed many a delicacy on my own, and the intensity of taking in the moment without anyone else there to offer input can give you insights that may shock you if you listen. (This doesn’t apply to wolfing down something from the drive-thru window; you have to actually stop and “smell the coffee”.) Savouring the food may allow you to stop the world for just a moment, so that you can see things in a new light. If nothing else, it will certainly keep you from having heartburn!

Seriously though, I do hope you can take the time to enjoy a soulful meal in your own way sometime soon. Summer won’t last forever – grab that picnic blanket. Enjoy a glass of wine and some cheese on your deck and watch the sunset. Take your kids for ice cream. Surprise your sweetie and go to your favourite spot or cook your favourite meal. You may even find yourself like Ella, skipping to the table as you let the sheer joy of the moment overtake you.


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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