The sweet and tart of life

We have passed the unofficial start of Canadian summer, and yet things have not really warmed up yet.

Gardens are lanky and lush green, and lawns are hard to keep mowed with spring rains. Everyone is still wearing jackets, and only the die-hards deep in denial are sporting their flip flops – who wants cold toes?

On days when the skies are grey and the wind –—or even rain — blows cold, I work to find my own sunshine.

My garden is overgrown, which for the most part means more weeding and less bounty. However, there are some items I can still count on to produce. Rhubarb is one of the plants that is grateful for cooler temperatures.

The strawberries are also plump and juicy in my boxes out back.

My grandfather used to say, “Can’t be wasting” (usually as he encouraged me to have that extra serving). So, in that spirit, I thought it only fitting to make a Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie.

It was my duty as a gardener not to waste the harvest. Not to mention it might help compensate for rainy days.

I used the good old-fashioned pastry recipe on the bottom of the Tenderflake lard box, because I wanted this to be a comfort dish. This classic recipe reliably turns out flaky and golden brown.

The beauty of this pie is that even a store-bought pie crust that you thaw and bake will still show well with the taste of freshly cooked fruit. If you’re not a fan of making pastry, you’re not excused from giving it a try.

Having married a chef, I succumb to professional criticism of all my recipes. My hubby is friendly about his comments, but he is not shy to tell me when I could improve (“the filling would be thicker if you made sure it boiled”, or “the centre doesn’t cook very well when you put a large decoration on it”).

I submit every dish for his consideration. He always has a comment, and when he says that something tastes very good, he means it. When he goes back for another piece, I know I have a real success.

A few days later the pie is gone.

The weather hasn’t warmed up and today it even rained big drops with a few cracks of thunder. But somehow, I feel a bit better.

That pie really was like a bit of sunshine, tasting the tart rhubarb and the sweet strawberries with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. Scoring a star rating with the chef didn’t hurt either. 

Perhaps my gardening is just a way of transferring my feelings – making pie takes away the gloom of grey days, pulling weeds is a release for my frustrations, and sharing the bounty of our harvest makes me smile even more than those with whom we share.

I am OK with my therapy. It helps me balance the sweet and tart of life, just like in my pie.

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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