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Happy-Gourmand

Mom's the word

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Many people don’t agree with this holiday, saying it’s too commercial.

This included the woman who petitioned for it in the first place; she hated that it became more about sending cards and flowers than something more intimate.

While I will admit I have never taken my Mom out for brunch on the day or sent her flowers, I do take seriously the idea of recognizing our moms — and dads, too (thanks for the reminder, Father’s Day).

The catch to making Mother’s Day personal is that not all the people who should be recognized fit the Webster’s definition of “mother” as a noun. Perhaps we could use the definition for the verb instead:

  • “to mother - the act of bringing up a child with care and affection”

I have had many wonderful moments with my mom, some of them on Mother’s Day and lots more throughout the years.

I have also had many moments with other wonderful role models. Friends of my parents, other relatives, teachers… they all helped mother me, shape me as a person.

In my day, this was just part of my hippie upbringing, having all those people around who loved me because they cared who I would become.

Nowadays, with blended families and a world that moves at Mach speed with lots of technology, having various role models is almost a requirement.

Even people who come and go in our lives can be an influence. Mother’s Day offers us a designated time to thank the expected people like Mom, Grandma and maybe your godmother.

I propose we pay it forward and think of making Mother’s Day gestures any time for anyone who helps us become our best selves. A simple thank you or a hug can let a special person know they made a difference in our lives.

My mom always used to say that the little things were important to remember. “Stop and smell the flowers” is one of her favourite expressions.

If someone helps us smell the flowers, then the best way we can show our appreciation is to let them know we enjoyed the moment. When we are little, this comes more naturally; kids have no filter and can’t help but share their opinions.

As a Girl Guide leader, I know this all too well from many beautiful (and some very funny) exchanges with girls. Once we get older, it can be harder to share, but sharing makes the love bounce back twice.

Life is a circle. As children we learn from the adults in our lives to be responsible and share our best selves with the world.

We don’t all become parents, but that doesn’t mean we don’t help shape the lives of young people as we get older. Let’s make Mother’s Day every day of the year and keep the good energy flowing.

My favourite treat for Mother’s Day is one of the first things my brother and I made. Since food is my specialty, I’m sharing it here.

You don’t have to make it now, but some time when you want to create a memory with a role model in your life, try sharing this dessert.

Smiles are just about guaranteed.

DECADENT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE  (serves 6)

When my brother and I made this, I didn’t know about making coffee. The recipe called for “strong coffee” and I thought it meant coffee grounds; I thought strong meant just adding a bit more – like a heaping spoonful.

My mom, bless her heart, said she loved the crunchy bits of coffee in the final result. You can decide if you want to try it that way or brew the coffee.

6 ounces / 170 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (use quality chocolate, around 70% cacao)
6 ounces / 170 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup / 2 oz. dark-brewed coffee (dark as in, use dark roast beans)
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup / 120 g, PLUS 1 tbsp / 15 g sugar
2 tbsp / 30 mL dark rum
1 tbsp / 15 mL water
Pinch of salt
1 tsp / 5 mL vanilla extract
Dark chocolate for shaving over top  (optional but a nice touch)

Heat a saucepan filled one-third of the way with water and set a larger bowl on top (don't let it touch the water). Add the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat. (Save the pan with the water, you'll be using it again.)

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

Using another bowl that fits on the saucepan of water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 1/2 sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise.

(You can also use a handheld electric mixer if you're not up to serious whisking. Note: Be sure this mixture is thick before removing bowl from heat.)

Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick. (Hold onto the bowl with the yolks, to ensure it doesn't slip into the melting ice.) Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.

Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don't overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if desired. If you want to make the mousse look especially spiffy, use a microplane grater or peeler to shave chocolate over the top before serving.



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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

 



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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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