As time goes by...at the dinner table

This weekend Martin and I will be attending my stepdaughter’s High School Commencement. To think that “the first day of the rest of her life” is here already, when I can remember her as a little girl in preschool, is a daunting memory. I am proud to know that I had a part in bringing her up, even if much of it just had to do with what happened around the dinner table. Let me explain…

Martin and I met when Chloae was four-years-old, and although she was a happy child she was also a picky eater. She loved soy sauce on all her favourite foods – or rather I should say she loved the stuff on the three savoury foods she would eat. The sweet stuff was never a problem; she had her father’s sweet tooth. Rice made sense, and skinless chicken breast is an easy food for most people to like, but who eats only the tops of their broccoli? Ah well, it did get better.

Once Chloae started school, the dinner table became a place of learning and sharing too. Chloae didn’t live with us, so our dinners together were important times. She helped set the table, and liked to make it look pretty. We had a routine of asking, “What was your high and low today?” as a way to share our experiences. Martin started to ask Chloae about cooking too – she learned about cooking rice, and then chicken and soon she was helping with all kinds of recipes.

Exploring new tastes was a great way to broaden her horizons, so by the time she was 10, Chloae was eating salmon with tapenade and spicy pasta and even raw oysters! One summer camping with us she tasted rabbit on a spit. A few years later when her school friends went to Kitsilano neighbourhood restaurants for lunch, she was tagging along and eating sushi and Mediterranean dips and burritos too. (No one wants to be the odd man out.)

Last year when Chloae got a serious boyfriend she called her Papa to find out how to cook baked salmon and a special dessert for their six month anniversary. Martin was shocked, but not about the dinner.

Now when we talk about setting a table, Chloae and I discuss party themes and décor. She wants to travel more and loves to hear my stories of meals in faraway places.

The three of us have shared many memories, lots of them around the table. I am pleased to know that as she starts her own life, the dinner table is something at the centre of it that gives her a good foundation. Here’s looking at you, kid.

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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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