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Happy-Gourmand

The light within this season

Changing seasons

The last week or so, my walks with our dog, Freyja, in the morning have been an ethereal experience.

The sun rises later now, which means we are often out just as dawn breaks. The first streams of light coming over the hills and across the lake seem to magically bring to life everything in the orchard. It is as if fairies dust the trees to make the leaves sparkle in every hue from yellow to red, and the green grass glows as if someone plugged it in, like a Light-Brite toy.

The last fruits still clinging to the branches of the trees hang like luminous Christmas ornaments awaiting their debut and the animals have a luster to their fur that gives them a royal air, like creatures from inside that famous wardrobe in author C.S. Lewis’s novel. (The one with the lion and the witch, remember?)

I love autumn, when the colours change and everything seems to be lit from within. I breathe more deeply on autumn mornings, trying I think to inhale some of that magic and keep it with me.

I love that all creatures, big and small, move proudly with purpose this time of year. They have a plan and they stick to it so that they will be prepared for winter.

The plants make a gracious stage exit from the scene in fall, claiming centre stage with their glorious colours and gradual decline. Even my drying sunflowers in the garden retain some majesty as they sway in the wind and provide sustenance for the hard-working birds.

The one thing I wonder about as I get older is the lack of insight in humans amidst nature’s constant reminders that everything is connected. Sure, we pull out our winter clothes as a gesture to recognize the change in seasons, but do we stop to enjoy what each season represents and remember to appreciate what each one offers?

Nowadays, it is easy to separate ourselves from the world around us. We eat pineapple in the winter as easily as we eat apples. Many birds fly south, so why can’t we be snowbirds?

I am not trying to say we should take winter on as punishment or retribution, but I do think that stopping to enjoy a crisp B.C. apple or baking some local squash can give you a moment of reflection and appreciation for our own corner of the world. That is where the magic light I spoke of comes from.

This week, take a walk through a park or lead your dog along the Mission Creek paths to enjoy the leaves. Maybe you’ll even have time to make a pile of leaves to jump in with the kids or the dog. If you are only willing to submit to a virtual experience, then enjoy watching an expert taking the plunge, Stella, the Labrador.

As a closing note, my hubbie, chef Martin (thechefinstead.ca) has offered up an autumn recipe.

“Once you are back at home, don’t waste time and put the kids to work before they go back to their TV or IPod and leave you alone in the kitchen. Apple Cobbler is so simple to make, you should have your kids do it while you sit back with a glass of wine. But be sure to watch them, just to make sure they don’t set the kitchen on fire,” he says.

Apple Cobbler

Filling:

8 apples
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 lb butter
A touch cinnamon

A touch of nutmeg

Batter:

2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder

A touch of vanilla

A pinch of salt

Peel and slice apples, put them in 8 inch square pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and bake for 10 minutes at 400 F. Take it out and let it rest 10 minutes. Then make the batter with flour, egg, sugar, milk, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Pour over apples. Bake at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Serves six to eight, and is delicious with whipped cream or Greek yogurt.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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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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