An appetite for life

My best friend has an insatiable appetite; she loves to eat.

She is never afraid of not looking good or not fitting into her clothes. She exercises regularly and most of what she eats is healthy, organic food. 

I am inspired by her every day. Her gusto for life reminds me to seize the moment more often.

I have had other friends like her, and they have all been a special part of my life.

With friends like that, you share special memories of ordinary things that make your day sparkle.

You find yourself smiling at simple beauty, stopping to smell the flowers, savouring every sip of your latte.

Being a foodie, having a friend who loves to eat is encouraging. Her simple taste can dazzle me with the complexity of flavours she achieves in a meal. I know of no one else in the world who gets excited about having the exact same dinner every night, jumping up and down when it's served.

My best friend is my brown girl, Ella. Chocolate Labs are known for their good spirit and healthy appetite and she is a true ambassador of the breed. For the last nine years, she has been my pal through thick and thin, sharing our morning walk, cheering me on during my workouts, leaning in for a snuggle when I'm tired, making me smile with her antics when I'm stressed.

Her demands for my attention are almost always centred around her stomach – she never forgets when it’s breakfast or dinner time.

Other than that, she’s just happy to be in my company.

Having unconditional love is a wonderful thing, and I highly recommend it for anyone willing to spend the quality time with a four-legged pal. I have to admit, though, having a pal who understands a passion for food is another bonus altogether.

Ella’s enthusiasm for her Kibble is a great reminder that simple meals can be enjoyed with gusto. One doesn’t always have to eat fancy food or look for some way to dress up a dish.

Sometimes straightforward flavours are wonderful on their own. Her combination of foods is inspiring too though; she has given me ideas for some of my favourite salads.

Have you ever tried peaches and cucumbers with your lettuce? How about pears and zucchinis? Ella is the quintessential seasonal foodie, so she comes up with the best flavours for the moment.

Our strolls through the orchard and the garden motivate her to sniff out delectable goodies.

I have shared my kitchen with other brown girls over the years and they have all been foodies.

Tigger was an adventurous eater, once consuming a whole bar of rosemary lavender soap that sat on the edge of the tub, but she was also known to love asparagus and crab apples.

Roo, her roommate, loved carrots, as did Roo’s successor, Satchmo. Both dogs were famous for poaching them right out of the garden.

Satchmo could still find the carrot row in the garden even after she went blind (so much for them being good for your vision.)

My love for all of my girls has known no bounds, but the food bowl has to have a limit of course.

No table scraps is a house rule (just like no fridge surfing is a rule for me). Food is for mealtimes, and treats are just that, for once in a while. After all, a girl has to watch her figure even if she is furry. And water consumption is important, so both of us have water stations around – I have a bottle in the car and in my office, she has a bowl in the yard and the mud room.

Friends help each other stay healthy, don’t they?

I’m sure most of you reading have a two-legged friend who fits these criteria just fine, and that’s great.

My two-legged girlfriends are mostly in other parts of the world, so Ella is my barometer. She keeps me on an even keel, and reminds me to enjoy every bite I take of life.

In honour of best friends everywhere, I am including a recipe this week that is great for sharing. (If your bestie is four-legged, then perhaps it would be better if you made them some Homemade Dog Biscuits. It's a human-friendly recipe, but more up their alley.)

Best Friend Banana Bread

One of my best girlfriends gave me this recipe years ago. We met when we were young adults, travelling Europe and finding ourselves. We became pen pals and exchanged all kinds of stories and secrets – including our favourite recipes.

This one is indicative of my friend: straight-forward and yet full of surprises. She also appreciates decadence, and I think of that when I eat this for breakfast!

  • 1/2 cup / 125 mL butter
  • 3/4 cup / 375 mL sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 125 mL honey or agave syrup
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups / 500 g flour
  • 1/2 tsp / 3 mL baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp / 3 g ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp / 3 mL baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp / 3 mL vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup / 185 mL milk
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts and/or 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F/ 190 C. Grease a loaf pan or bunt pan.

Sift flour and mix with baking powder and cinnamon. Mix in nuts and/or chocolate chips if you are using them.

Cream sugar, honey and butter in a mixer or large bowl. Beat in mashed bananas and eggs until well blended. Add in dry ingredients at low speed and mix just until smooth. Add vanilla and baking soda to milk in measuring cup, then mix gradually with batter.

Pour batter into pan and bake on middle rack for one hour, turning halfway through. Loaf is done when a knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

Loosen loaf from pan with a spatula and turn out on wire rack to cool. Or, eat warm with a friend, if you like.

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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