Local Food

It all began with blackberries.

They were everywhere on Gambier Island, and as visitors graced me with their presence my last week on the island, I sent them out a-pickin’. They risked all manner of injury and sudden death, and supplied me with bags and containers of juicy deliciousness.

And that somehow led to a blackberry-themed dinner, my last weekend on the island. Blue-eyed Stranger did extreme research and devised a delectable cold blackberry soup of East European origin. With The Librarian’s (visiting from Toronto) help, I made pan-seared blackberry glazed salmon, risotto dotted with blackberries and salad with b-berry dressing. The Librarian magically created blackberry crepes….the neighbours joined us for dessert and we finished off the last of the Hornby Island honey wine.

Our last night on Gambier, I announced officiously to the Blue-Eyed Stranger: That’s. It. I. Absolutely. Cannot. Cook. Anymore. She was taken aback but only for a moment. She knew I’d managed valiantly without lattes, cafes, and takeout for over a month. She good-naturedly fired up the all-terrain vehicle and off we went, bumping over the hills in the purple dusk, to the General Store.

The Sad-Eyed Dude was ready for us. He serves up lovely light lunches all week, but on weekends he goes all out. The place was empty but it was full of food love. We devoured lamb curry and vegetarian lasagna. Sad-Eyed Dude cooks from his heart: the curry had a tinge of citrus, the lasagna a surprising spicy kick.

But it didn’t end there. Two days later, and I’m in Sidney, on Vancouver Island, visiting my younger brother, The Aid Worker.

We drive along cool shady country roads and grab corn, tomatoes, beans and chard from roadside stands. We drink fruit wine from Marley Wines, cook up local spot prawns for dinner. How. Did. We. Get. To. Be. Such. Foodies. I ask my bro’. We surmise it’s all of our travels, and also, it’s our dad, who was quite the old world epicure. In any case, we cook up some lovely meals, and the preparing and eating of food becomes, as usual, a way to bridge old silences and create new memories.

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