by Lara Gladych –
Seaside Magazine wants to live up to our slogan of being “the voice of the Saanich Peninsula,” so, in every issue, we’ll be asking people to answer a question. We’re looking for responses from all ages and across the diverse neighbourhoods that form our community.
Food is one of my great loves. I can admit (as of recently) that I don’t particularly love to cook, or find it to be anything other than a means to a gratifying end, but I sure do love to eat.
If I had fresh Italian, Mexican and Mediterranean foods every day for the rest of my life, I don’t believe I would tire of them. As for food indulgences, with few exceptions, potatoes and cheese are irresistible to me, and a tart fruit crumble is virtually impossible for me to say no to. I found a funny quote from Nora Ephron that echoes one of my fondnesses: “I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.” I planted myself outside some popular food-stops in Sidney to ask people: “What is your guilty food pleasure?” Smiles were abundant with people’s answers this month, as those I interviewed proclaimed their love for those foods they can’t refuse.
Could you have guessed that chocolate would top the list? I delved deeper, wanting to know exactly what kind of chocolate tickled the fancies of these interviewees. Dark chocolate is the favourite of Jack, 73, and for Kathryn, 68, too, who loves the Lindt selections. N’Kara, 32, misses the “Cadbury peppermint chocolate you can only find in Australia,” and Jacqui, six, is most fond of Twix chocolate bars.
Ice cream is a weakness for four people I spoke with. Ashley, 25, has no flavour favourite. Little Luke, who is four, chose bubblegum, and Colin, 44, picked vanilla as his top choice. Ken, 71, touted the vegan soft-serve ice cream from Julien Crêperie as a must-try. “Their vanilla-blueberry is spectacular.”
Cheese and desserts were other very popular answers. “Anything dessert,” said Cathy, 58. “My favourite is carrot cake with cream cheese icing,” she added. Linda, 70, responded similarly, saying “Dessert, cheesecake … I like New York style. Anything decadent is wonderful.”
Sharing my love of cheese were Gwen, 80, and Elaine, 61. “I love cheese. I like blue cheese, I like camembert, I like all kinds,” said Gwen. Elaine’s favourite is Cambozola.
Ammella told me that popcorn topped with a cheddar shaker is what she loves most. She’s nine. Another savoury favourite came from Lily, 12, and it’s Lay’s Original potato chips that she finds to be irresistible.
Ian, 68, surprised me when he said, “Liquorice Allsorts. I have to hide them, and sometimes I find them two years later and they’re not all that great.” I haven’t seen or thought of Liquorice Allsorts in years!
I heard “pizza” from two people, the first of whom was Kristen, 36, whose preference of toppings is prosciutto and arugula. Mark, 32, has a weakness for Woodshed pizzas, and he enjoys them all but is particularly fond of their pierogi and Fort Mac creations. Along the same lines, pasta came up twice, first from Jeremy, 34, who loves lasagna, and second from Jassy, 65, who can’t resist any pasta with cream sauce.
Mom Chloe, 30, loves sushi, while her little one, Bentley, chooses Sidney Bakery donuts above all others.
Gunni, 66, shared the most thoughtful answer: “I don’t eat anything not properly settled on a plate. If it’s beautiful, I can have it.” Gunni, I appreciate the sentiment. It’s our eyes that get those gastric juices flowing, is it not?
Doug and Shawn gave me responses from two ends of the spectrum. While Doug, 23, feels that “food in general” brings him pleasure, Shawn, 36, could think of nothing in particular that is indulgent for him.
The answers that stood out the most for me came from Jeff and Serge. Jeff, who’s 50, said with a laugh: “I don’t know if it’s guilty, but it’s my food pleasure. The Serious Coffee granola bars – they’re so good!” Serge, 36, on the other hand, was completely up-front in telling me that his guilty pleasure “is a liquid lunch. I don’t usually eat a lot, but if I’m thirsty I’ll have a beer or two. Don’t tell my boss,” he, too, said with a laugh. So very European of you, Serge.
There are so many beautiful words out there about love of food and eating, but I thought this quote most succinctly captured the feelings around our guilty pleasures: “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” (Ernestine Ulmer).