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Happy-Gourmand

Moms, May flowers, mint

Moms, May flowers and mint   

I’ve got you thinking, haven’t I? What in the world do the items in this week’s title have to do with each other?

They are all things that I love, and in an interesting set of circumstances, they all happen to represent this time of year. In case you might still be stumped about this connection, follow my train of thought:

MOMS

In our part of the world, May is about Mother’s Day. It has been a huge celebration in North America for the last two centuries, but the appreciation of mothers has been an important holiday since the time of the ancient Greeks.

In some other countries they use International Women’s Day in March to celebrate moms. In the U.K., they do their celebrating on Mothering Sunday which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, a symbolic tribute that started in reference to Mary Magdalene and now includes all mothers.

It also became known as Simnel Sunday, a day that was an easing of Lenten fasting to properly honour moms with a feast. Simnel cakes (like modern fruit cake) were a signature treat.

Many people aren’t fans of fruit cake, but brunch is a popular modern Mother’s Day treat. I love biscuits as a part of brunch, and so I’m sharing my favourite recipe for them, from Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen

They are easy to do, the recipe makes enough to share with a small crowd and – best of all -  Mom will be impressed.

MAY FLOWERS

There is, of course, the old saying, “April showers bring May flowers”.

This does seem to be true in a literal sense in much of the Northern hemisphere, but it also brings to mind the concept of looking on the bright side.

April showers and the slow approach of spring put many of us in a bit of a tizzy. Grey days can be depressing, and nothing much sprouts that early. People tend to be in a soggy mood that empathizes with the weather.

The month of May allows for a kinder temperament for both people and the environment. The appearance of spring blossoms is a welcome rainbow of colours after the drab monochromatic landscape of winter.

Similarly, we tend to smile more easily as the days get longer and the flowers to sniff get more prevalent.

In France, delicate and fragrant Lilies of the Valley are still given on the first of May in celebration of May Day. This ancient celebration of the transition of winter into spring is now known as a holiday honouring workers.

I find it interesting that those honoured on this day were once farmers and gardeners and now they are labourers.

MINT

This lovely herb is one of the harbingers of spring along with the early blossoms. Its fresh flavour is a burst of life in any dish where it is included. It’s delicious with rhubarb, another spring feature.

Added to a salad, it can make you forget that many vegetables haven’t sprouted in the garden yet. And if you’re looking to celebrate, take a cue from those folks in Kentucky and try a mint julep.

(For those of you who don’t keep up with sports news, the Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May.)

Be warned: the mint julep is a sipping drink. Muddled mint leaves and a bit of simple syrup is all that stands between you and that chilled metal cup full of bourbon.

If you prefer a milder version of the Derby day festivities, perhaps simply wearing a flamboyant bit of headgear is more your style. I plan on wearing my best hat to the farmer’s market, and maybe I’ll indulge in an iced tea with mint if the day is warm enough.

If you do want to bet on a horse and clink glasses, here’s a great recipe for a classic mint julep.

s for the betting, I’m sure there are many theories, but one of the most successful experts at predicting race winners says War of Will is his pick (15-1 odds as I write this).

Jody Demling has picked the Derby winner nine out of the last 10 years, and he likes a long shot this year. I’m interested to see how things turn out.

After all, he can’t do any worse than the silly ground hog, can he?



More Happy Gourmand articles

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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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