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Serious Food and Drink shouldn’t be taken too seriously

Here we are at the start of a new year, and everywhere there are earnest reminders that we should be striving for more, improving, setting goals, accomplishing new things…. it’s exhausting, isn’t it? How about we start by maintaining the good we’ve already done, and celebrate that little victory? After all, we deserve a pat on the back for showing up, don’t we??

With that attitude in mind, my post today is about keeping one’s sense of humour. I don’t know about you, but I have been known to get all fired up about new things (like trying recipes, for example), only to discover that success was not as obvious as expected. I just deleted a draft of a recipe I had written here and wanted to post: “Banana Coconut Cream Pie with a Chocolate Crust”. Sounds awesome, right? Yeah, well, it didn’t look awesome when I made it. It looked like something my dog might have well, put back in the bowl, if you know what I mean. And it didn’t taste all that great either. Not only did the custard not set, but the bananas went brown almost immediately, and the crust was soggy in some spots and like cardboard in others. So much for sharing that Pinterest find. We did have a good laugh about how awful it was, though, as we substituted homemade sundaes for dessert that night. What else could I do?

ice-cream-sundae

So, I am not making any resolutions to go on a diet, or eat gluten free, or start up longer work outs or lift more weight. I’m working on keeping up with my efforts from last year. Thankfully, being married to a chef and interested in good food, I eat pretty healthy most of the time. I also treat myself often (my workout schedule is a combination of vanity and a calculation that accounts for regular chocolate, ice cream and alcohol consumption). Don’t look here for any recipes that feature restrictions – look for dishes that feature interesting tastes and combinations of flavours. They might be extra-healthy, they might be gluten-free or Paleo, but most importantly I think they are delicious.

Alright, enough said for today. (I don’t want to seem preachy.) Get out there and have fun – eat something interesting! And then congratulate yourself for living life to the fullest. If you’d like a relatively healthy recipe idea, how about Chicken with Cinnamon and Dates ?  It’s one of my favourite chicken recipes.

If you need more inspiration, the wonderfully funny folks at Urban Daddy came up with a great New Years list for the first month of the year: 31 Reasons to Have a Drink. Since I’ve managed to stick to my 2017 plan for two days in a row, I think I’ll toast my small success with a glass of wine 🙂

Cheers!

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It’s not just turkey that spells thanks

It is not only the harvest season but also that time of year when we are reminded to give thanks for all that we have. Most of us will be enjoying a turkey feast this weekend as part of the celebrations. However, with all the news of late that seems to spell doom and gloom I wanted to take time to say that even a can of beans could serve the purpose for gathering folks together to be grateful. In our part of the world we have much to be grateful for, and if you have someone to share your meal with then that is a great start right there.

The family part of Thanksgiving is the most obvious, and although your blood relatives may be far away, often friends can fill the gap and share a special time. I know as a culture we are aware of sharing with those less fortunate as well; Thanksgiving is often a time when people are reminded to give back in any way they know how. There are turkey drives, and donations to the food bank, and all kinds of charities that need the support of the community.

But what about the less formal part of the holiday; what about the essence of being grateful? Can you do that if you are stressed out about work and a busy schedule and having to pay the bills?

Take a lesson from kids and dogs – they are good at making the most of every moment.

We need to make sure we take time for ourselves, to stop and smell the flowers so to speak. That is when it is easiest to be grateful, when you take time to notice the world around you.  Ambition is a powerful thing that can take you places, and responsibilities are important but we need to remember not to let the cart lead the horse. If you collapse from the stress of trying to get that never-ending list of duties completed or from the pressure of trying to live up to expectations, then you will never have a chance to really be grateful and enjoy your life – no matter how much turkey you eat.

In closing I will reprint a poem I included in an earlier column,  made famous when it was discovered on the body of a man who was instrumental in convicting Al Capone. He was gunned down, but no one is sure if the note was something he carried or if it was left by his killers. I leave you to ponder its importance.

The Clock of Life

by Robert H. Smith, copyright 1932, 1982

The clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power

To tell just when the hands will stop

At late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more,

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no man can restore.

The present only is our own,

So live, love, toil with a will,

Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”

For the Clock may then be still.

May you and yours have a restful and joyous Thanksgiving. Cheers!

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