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We cook because we love

Story by Alain Bossé
Photography by Steve Smith/VisionFire

Writing a story for a magazine can be a funny process. Due to the time involved in the editing and publishing process we find ourselves thinking about Christmas while the rose is still on the bloom, so to speak.

That’s how I came to be mulling over Christmas traditions on a beautiful hot summer day in August. I knew I wanted to make the base of the story about comfort food. And in particular about the comfort food that I looked forward to when I went home to my mother’s kitchen to celebrate the holidays.

My thought process took a sudden turn when I walked into the kitchen to find Johanne poring over a stack of handwritten recipes along with a smattering of cookbooks.

When I asked what she was doing, she replied that she was working out the menu for an upcoming visit from our son, daughter-in-law and grandson. “Oh, why go through all the trouble,” I admonished. “We will just figure out the menu day by day.” I could tell by the look on her face that this was not going to fly. I assumed it was because Johanne is not a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person. She’s very detail oriented and likes to know what is going to happen each and every moment of the day. Quite the opposite of myself!

But that was actually not the reason, and, as she informed me, this activity was not born out of stress but came from a place of love. “You see,” she explained to me, “now that Jock is 28 years old, I’m not the one who heals his hurts, I’m no longer the one he turns to when he’s feeling down or needs reassurance that everything is going to work out just fine. And while I’m sure he still likes to be tucked into bed, it certainly isn’t by his mother!”

She went on to say that these roles had all been filled by another wonderful and caring woman, which is exactly the way it should be. So for her, preparing all of her son’s favourite meals is now the ultimate act of showing how much she loves and cares about him.

Is that how my mother felt when I came home for Christmas? I think perhaps it is.

The reality for many of us though is that our mothers have hung up their aprons. Some are no longer with us, some have downsized and are now living in homes that no longer accommodate their large families, and others are simply content to pass the duties on to the younger generation—preferring to be the ones who are spoiled for a change.

And that’s how my perspective for the story completely changed. It made me realize that perhaps at this stage in life, “comfort food to come home to” is less about the comfort we receive and more about the comfort we give.

And isn’t that what Christmas in general is all about?

#stayinlove Johanne and Alain Bossé.

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