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Happy-Gourmand

It's the little things

We are back now from our adventures, enjoying the comforts of home.

It is true that one appreciates things more after an absence; drinking water from the tap and sleeping in my own bed are activities I particularly enjoy these days.

I am happy having been reminded that every day things are important. 

Travelling is wonderful for broadening one’s mind. We see parts of the world different from our usual routine, and hopefully we open our eyes and ears to understand how other people appreciate the world.

Amidst the vast differences we might experience are tucked tiny memories of moments we cherish – like my first taste of baobab juice, or when my Hubby re-proposed to me under the stars in the desert. 

Food is a big part of every-day life, and exotic flavours are exciting. Back at home, I am reminded though of the importance of less notable things.

We are packing up the last of the herbs and vegetables from the garden and it occurred to me that the strongest plants, the most common, are the ones we most take for granted. 

I dug out the carrots from the garden, and we had some that evening in a salad. Such a humble vegetable and yet the flavour of it in a November salad was incredibly decadent. 

We have volunteer parsley that grows every year better than the grass. It has a wonderful fresh flavour — puréed with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper, it makes a delicious paste that livens up our meals all winter.

Everything from garlic bread and pasta to soup or stew gains extra pizzazz from this little herb that is often seen as just a garnish. 

My favourite “little thing” in the garden is celery. Full disclosure: I don’t grow heads of celery; with the intense heat we get and the water it needs, I have no luck with it.

Instead, I have seasoning celery, which is more of an herb than a vegetable. It packs a punch of flavour into any sauce, salad and works wonders in stuffing or omelettes.

Did you know that celery was once regarded as a status vegetable? Dutch immigrants brought seeds with them to America and, before long, it went from local markets to crossing the nation.

In the late 19th century, raw stalks were displayed as a popular centrepiece; there was even such a thing as a celery vase. Celery soup was all the rage, and, in 1947, braised celery was included on a White House Thanksgiving menu. 

Nowadays, celery has become commonplace and is seen more as an accompaniment to chicken wings or your children’s lunch.

But its fresh tangy flavour and signature crunch would be sadly missed if it was omitted in turkey stuffing, Waldorf salad or the many soups and stews that contain the holy trinity of “mire poix," the traditional French base of carrots, celery and onion.

Perhaps that is why our consumption of it rises by over 500% in November and December.

My newly refreshed gratitude of those things we take for granted has me loving celery again, just like I love the tap water, and the sight of the stars in the sky.

It is the little things that make up life, that form the fabric of our memories. Even on big days — or big trips — the moments I will remember are those that sandwiched between breakfast and lunch or peaking through the covers at dawn or twilight.



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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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