Monday, July 26, 2010

Two-Stomach Legacy

It is my father’s 80th birthday on Wednesday and this past Sunday we all—Grumps, Grams, Jessie, Dan, I, my brother Bill and his partner Leigh-Anne, and my other brother John—drove to Chateau Montebello on the Ottawa River for its renowned brunch.

Chateau Montebello used to be known as The Siegneury Club, and my father remembers when his father was a member and they would go there in the winter to skate, ski, and sled. It’s now owned by Fairmont and is an upscale yet rustic resort with biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, spa, and a famous Sunday brunch to die for!

We figured this would be a great way to celebrate my father’s 80th, as large and sweet brunches are his menu of choice. In fact, he shuns any foods that don’t look like they have either a) been processed or b) contain heart-stopping amounts of sugar and cream. While my father will pick at a salad or a delectable plate of steak and fresh green beans, he has been known to eat third and fourth helpings of praline ice cream with butterscotch sauce and a large side of carrot cake.

When Jessie was little, we tried to convince him that he needed to set an example and could he please eat all of his dinner before dessert, and limit his dessert to what might be considered a reasonable helping. In true paterfamilias style, he came up with his own solution to our effort to keep Jessie eating healthily. He explained to Jessie that he was unique in that he had TWO stomachs. One for regular food and one for desserts only. The dessert stomach was significantly larger than the regular stomach, hence his ability (and need) to eat just a bit of the main course, but 2 or 3 helpings of dessert.

Jessie quickly figured out that, since she was Grumps’ granddaughter, and since she had an extra chromosome and therefore had extras of everything, she also had to have at least 2 stomachs, just like him. And there began their absolutely delightful ascent into dessert heaven. “Gotta feed that extra stomach!” is the refrain at the dinner table when we visit in Montreal, and out comes a frightening array of dessert cakes, ice creams, and sauces. My father smiles sheepishly, Jessie grins full out!

Never mind that he was the top tax man in Canada and Chair of the Montreal Board of Trade in his day. His true legacy, to Jessie anyways, is his second stomach.
(in picture: Grumps, Jessie, Leigh-Anne)

1 comment:

Adelaide Dupont said...

Thank you for sharing this paterfamilias.

"Two stomaches".

Wonderful to read about the whole club culture and setting.

I like the idea of eating a little of the main course.

Thinking Person's Guide has a great link:

McCrary Koppen [2010] Feeding issues and picky eaters.

Three certainities: taxes, death and desserts!

Brings back that whole "Death by chocolate" concept.