"Hey ti-gars!" or "How ya doin kid!". Those were always the greetings I received from my Grandfather (or Pepere as we called him) as I would get swallowed up in one of his big hugs. Pepere and I always shared a special bond. He was at all my games, gave me the most honest advice, and was a true role model and perfect gentleman. He always had the best stories of growing up in central Ottawa, where he carried the nickname 'Junior' much of his life. One passion we both shared is food. But the food itself, while always delicious, was secondary. Pepere's favorite thing was seeing people, family, sitting down together and talking about what is going on in their life, or celebrating a birthday, achievement, or milestone.
When I was about 5 or 6 years old, Pepere owned a restaurant, where he was also the cook. My parents would go in to help serve or bar tend, and I would get to hang out in the kitchen with the boss. I can remember him cooking all kinds of great food, and he would always take a break to make Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes for me! When I hit my earliest of teens, I wanted to learn how to make some of the great food he had been making for our family over the years. Together, we spent a whole weekend making everything from his famous baked beans (being French-Canadian, these were a staple at every breakfast), to spaghetti sauce and everything in between. He loved cooking for his family and would host big family breakfasts every couple months. And i'm sure like most of our parents or grandparents, he was proud of his food, and every batch of whatever was being made was 'the best one yet!'.
And what about The Kid? After learning how to make a few staples from Pepere, I started reading about food and cooking, watching videos and shows, and really started to care about what I was putting on a plate. It became more than just making food because I was hungry, but I actually started enjoying the trial and error of flavor combinations, creating art on a plate, and of course, cooking for others.
I also use cooking as a way to unwind. Having worked in law enforcement for several years, I would come home after a difficult shift, and cook a great meal with the tunes cranked. I developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after 12 years on the road, and cooking has been a great coping mechanism and release for me, as I continue to navigate through it.
I believe that food is something that is so amazing, in the sense that it has the ability to do so much. Bring people together, make people happy, help people through a difficult time. I truly think that a group of people who do not share anything in common or even speak the same language, could sit together for a meal and have an absolutely great experience. There's not much in this world that we can say that about.
Junior and The Kid want to thank you for visiting our blog. While Junior is no longer with us, I will continue to share our passion for food, share some of our stories, and interact with you all to make this an interactive, fun and original page to visit. Looking forward to coming together with you all, one delicious bite at a time!