Happy Birthday, Magoo!  In honour of their stepdaughter's birthday, the Pair of Gourmands reflect on family memories. (Photo: Contributed)
Happy Birthday, Magoo! In honour of their stepdaughter's birthday, the Pair of Gourmands reflect on family memories. (Photo: Contributed)

How time flies

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She says:

My stepdaughter is having her fifteenth birthday party in Vancouver today. She chose a French theme, complete with wire mannequins stuffed with fresh flowers to give that stylish effect. When I talked to her on the phone she was talking about finding a beret to wear with the dress she had chosen for the day. I had to smile and shake my head as I thought, “Oh my goodness, she is 15 going on 30! Time sure does fly!”

It is a tough thing to get to the age where you start to think often of how much things have changed. As I get older I find that I take great comfort in knowing that some things do stay the same. Sometimes even though they have changed, there is still an interest for how things used to be (take the music of the 60’s for example, which seems to be still strong after all these decades). I suppose that is where my real soft spot lies I like to know that people remember “the good old days”, that the memories of times gone by are not lost or forgotten.

In talking with Chloae I realized that times with friends and family are when we see just how much things change, as we see the same people. The food that binds those occasions is often the glue that keeps all the memories alive, blending the comforts of days gone by with the flair of something new. For example, I remember Christmas dinner as I grew up changed quite a bit (there was goose, there was exotic stuffing with nuts and dried fruit, there were ethnic spices added to sauces…) but there were always a few stand-bys on the table too (like the family version of Waldorf salad, with apples and whipped cream). Everyone had their favourites, but it was the whole groaning table that made the event special, just like it was the people around the table who made the family complete.

I am very proud of Chloae and her ability to survive in today’s age of blended families. She has different traditions with us here than she has in Vancouver, and yet she keeps it all alive. She is making a rich life full of all kinds of memories, ones which I hope will serve her well as she builds her own family someday. (That would be in the far distant future if her father had any say in the matter!) I am confident that as much as she is moving along at warp speed into life, she will remember her roots, and keep memories alive by making old recipes and sharing favourite meals from bygone days. How do I know this, you may ask? Well, I don’t know for sure, but when she told me the cake she chose was not an exotic pastry confection from some French shop downtown but rather an ice cream cake with the Eiffel Tower on it… well, that’s when I realized she hasn’t totally grown up (thank goodness!). It made me think of the first of her birthday cakes I had a piece of – it was a Smiley Face, complete with yellow icing. She had requested it specially from her Papa, for her 5th birthday.

So, Happy Birthday, Magoo! May you always remember a bit of your childhood whimsy, especially on your special day.

He says:

I don’t think that kids should ever grow up! Not for the first 30 or 40 years anyway!

Fifteen years old is the age where you are really starting to see adulthood creeping up on you. Soon you are 18 and moving to college! I am so not ready for it myself!

Chloae arrives next week for five weeks of Kelowna living and I look forward to hearing about what kind of food she did have at that French themed party. I wonder if she had garlic-buttered escargot or even some frog legs with aioli. Maybe she had rack of lamb a la Provencal… I am guessing that she probably had North American fare - more like hot dogs, pizza and hot chicken wings after all, she is only 15. One thing is for sure, while Chloae is staying with us, she will be eating well. She will also work with me - whenever I need someone to do dishes and she will work on the property picking cherries, weeds and doing more grunt work. I am of the belief that children need to be given a serious amount of chores to grow up to be well adjusted working human beings and to avoid getting in too much trouble. My dad believed that if you were at home cutting the grass, you were not somewhere else doing something stupid, and I have learned that he was right.

I am already starting to think about our camping trip in August and what to eat. Last year I cooked a leg of lamb on the spit while the ladies went to the beach and this year I am hoping to persuade Chloae to let me cook a rabbit the same way and have her eat it for one of the dinners. We’ll see!

For more recipe ideas, don’t forget to check out the barbecue link on your right - I am uploading new recipes every week.


This condiment, famous in the south of France, should have a kind of mayonnaise texture once finished. Serve it with lamb chops, pork tenderloin, frog legs or any other meat you wish.

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 large potato
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lemon juice

  • Cook your potato in salted water, skin on.
  • Peel the potato while it is still warm and mash it with a fork.
  • Add the garlic chopped up in small pieces.
  • Add your egg yolks and stir with a wooden spoon (French cooks wouldn’t be caught dead mixing their aioli with a metal spoon!)
  • Add some lemon juice to taste
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper

  • 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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