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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

My second son moved out on his own Friday night. He has finished university and will graduate with an honours BA (with distinction) later in the spring. It was his time. My oldest son has been out of the house for a couple of years. This leaves my third son and daughter in the house with me (and the dog of course).

It is a time of mixed emotions. On one hand I am glad to see him on his own. There are lots of things to learn when you are on your own and it is healthy to start living life on your own terms. It is interesting how our relationship has changed over the last couple of years. There will always be the father-son relationship but now we can chat about things of interest to both of us and on an adult level. And the food bill in the house will be less.

There is no question that I will miss our day to day interactions but that just means it will be even more special when we do see each other. There is always that little bit of nagging doubt about what I, as a parent, have been able to instill but so far everything looks very positive. Still, the household has changed and it will take some getting used to.

Finally, I will gain a bit of freedom in the kitchen since he is a vegetarian and every meal had to be planned with a vegetarian option. On Saturday, he showed up at the house to claim some more items and came downstairs eating a piece of pizza that I had purchased. We chatted for a minute and I remarked that, “you know that pizza has meat on it …”. He paused and then said, “you couldn’t wait for a day”, but he finished the piece.

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My oldest son had his birthday this week and we went out for a celebratory dinner. We went to a local restaurant that features beef since he was interested in a good steak. Now this presents a little bit of an issue since a couple of the family have chosen to be vegetarians. However, the restaurant had some vegetarian options so all was good.

Now my son has worked in a number of restaurants and most recently worked as a cook in a small, well respected independent restaurant in one of the trendy areas of town. During the meal, the conversation turned to eating and vegetarianism. My son remarked that the veggie burgers they served always got high praise. His mother, one of the vegetarians, asked if it was how they made their burger. No was the answer. The main reason that people liked them, according to my son, was they were cooked on the same flat top as the regular (meat) burgers so the flavours transferred to the veggie burgers …

It was all I could do not to choke on my prime rib …

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Breakfast

So what is it about breakfast? I am not talking about the nutritional and health benefits, but rather the social side of the event.

Jim, Don and I met for breakfast in a town west of Edmonton before we went to the Little Flower festival. It was nothing fancy but I found myself smiling inside every so often while we were there. There is something about the atmosphere around having breakfast in a restaurant that I really enjoy.

It’s an opportunity to have items you normally would not take the time to fix for yourself (and are probably not as good for you). The phrase “freshen your coffee?” … most of the time I will say no, but it is nice to be asked. The word ‘fresh’ seems to figure prominently … fresh orange juice, fresh eggs, fresh coffee. It is the anticipation of the what lies ahead for the day – a fresh start. And while you know you eventually have to be somewhere, the extra cup of coffee and the conversation that goes with it makes you feel like time is moving a little slower.

In one of the previous lives in my career, our work unit used to meet for breakfast once every couple of months. Breakfast doesn’t have the formality of other meals and we would have some really good chats about work and non-work. Everyone wasn’t bogged down like at the end of the day and conversation and ideas would flow freely.

But, for me, breakfast out somewhere brings back memories of younger days. Meeting up before going to the cottage, a race at Mosport or a hike in Jasper. It was an opportunity for some last minute plans or just good natured banter. The meal would set the tone for the day. There was something about being on your own and setting your own agenda rather than being told what to do. It was probably one of the first “adult” things we got to do.

Good friends, strong coffee and the promise of a good day ahead. Doesn’t get much better. I’m just saying …

Me, Norm and Eric ... after finishing a hike in Jasper (c. late 70s)

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My daughter recently returned from a school trip to England and Ireland. She brought back some English shortbread (so bad for you, but so good) and some other treats. But, the most interesting was a couple of packets of crisps (potato chips to us Canadians).

The actual bag of potato chips was Worcestershire Sauce and Sun-Dried Tomato. They were almost flavourless; I certainly could not taste any strong evidence of either tomato or Worcestershire sauce.

The other packet was not even made from potatoes.

All natural!

I think this may be the English version of health food. Crisps made from golden parsnips, sweet potatoes and beetroot. Individual flavours were impossible to detect, but there was a strong taste of canola oil and salt. Were they edible? I would give them a qualified pass – I wouldn’t go out of my way for them but I have had worse. Mind you, I am sure some of our ‘delicacies’ seem as strange to them. Different strokes …

And BTW; £1.15 = $1.79 Cdn

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