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Inspiration in the Likeliest of Places

October 24, 2011

Inspiration: it is something I am constantly stumbling upon rather than seeking.  It comes from people, art, events, and nature, but more than any of these I have found that places have a profound ability to stir excitement.  Perhaps it’s because places contain the characters, the experiences and the connections of life, or because they offer a unique perspective on even mundane activities that they have such a huge impact.  Going to the market or eating a meal in a new environment can be elevated to the level of the sublime when the experience connects you to the people, the history, and the soul of a place.  For me, nowhere is this more likely to occur than in Montreal.  My regular visits to the city are usually a week or more in duration, but even a couple of short days are enough to both satisfy and further pique my curiosity.

Eating and shopping in Montreal... magnifique!

McAuslan Brunch at Au Pied de Cochon and Jean Talon Market

Recently, I purchased a copy of the “cookbook of sorts”, “The Art of Living According to Joe Beef.”  In the pages of this book (which I have read from or cooked from every day since receiving it) I find kindred spirits in the proprietors Frederic Morin and David McMillan.  Their love of food, drink, trains, nostalgia, history, simplicity and humour, not to mention the city of Montreal, exceeds my own; this is not an easy feat, either in itself or for me to admit.

Yours truly, atop Mount Royal

Yours truly, atop Mount Royal

The Joe Beef philosophy is my philosophy, but before reading this book I didn’t even know it was a philosophy.  To say that this book has inspired me is an understatement.  It is the reason I am writing this, and the reason I want to continue writing about what inspires me.  What I jot down may not resonate with anyone, or it might, but either way, I look forward to reflecting on the experiences and influences that leave their mark on me.

Travelled by train from Halifax to Montreal this summer.

On board the Ocean, the oldest continuously-operated named passenger train in North America.

So what can you expect to see here?  Expect to see ramblings about food.  Expect a lot of gushing about Montreal.  Expect the odd rant about politics or the environment, and expect to be surprised.  I’m all about connecting dots in the hopes of there being a somewhat discernible picture in the end.  Right now, things look a bit scattered, but I’m confident that the more dots I find or create, the clearer everything will become.  Maybe one day my own philosophy will materialize, but for now, Joe Beef will be my patron saint and source of inspiration.

Joe Beef receipts, photos, and mementoes

Memories of past Joe Beef experiences

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