Gourmand (noun)

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  1. one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking
  2. one who is heartily interested in good food and drink

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 24 June 2020)

Use it in a sentence

Gabriela’s parents were famed for hosting lavish lunches. The first hot Sunday of the summer, her mother would commandeer the kitchen, whilst her father was ordered outside to tidy up the courtyard and set the enormous, heavy wooden table. Her father had made the table from old railway sleepers when they were first married, even though they’d had nowhere to put it back then. It didn’t take long, though, for them to enjoy success and purchase the seaside summer house that they now lived in permanently. The table could be set comfortably for 12 but there were always at least 16 chairs crammed around it. Squalling babies were perched on laps, and newly betrothed couples happily squashed together. In the stifling hot summers, their large leafy courtyard was a cool and shady haven to all.

Gabriela’s mother was renowned throughout the neighbourhood as a gourmand. Her plump cheeks, her curvy hips spoke of her keen interest in rich sauces, creamy pastries and piquant cheeses. Her mother could chat for at least 20 minutes with the local baker, about the right flour for a particular type of bread. My mother always made her own, but the baker always indulged her in conversation because they were the only two left in town who bought their own grains and had them milled.

Lunch always started with a seafood antipasto. So close to the sea, there was always an abundance of fresh sardines and octopus. Her mother battered and fried all of the whitebait herself, and stuffed the calamari and simmered them in her own sauce. Everyone’s favourite second dish was the spaghetti with vongole. So simple – garlic, olive oil, chilli. And yet everyone agreed there was something lush and decadent about it, that only her mother was capable of creating.

Her mother, flushed through, her face glowing with pride mixed with greasy steam, would not sit down until the fruit and cheese was on the table. Someone else would offer to make the coffee and pass around the crunchy crostoli that had been fortified with their own grappa.

Thus far, Gabriela had never shared her mother’s fondness for food. She avoided the kitchen, preferring to read a book in the garden. But lately, she noticed her mother had waned a little, had needed to sit down for a while after a long frying session.  

So, on one of those gloriously sunny Sundays, Gabriela rummaged around in a bottom drawer for a spare apron, put it over her head, tied it up and faced her mother who was startled to see her in the kitchen at all.

Gabriella smiled. ‘Teach me how to make the stuffed calamari.’

Her mother beamed back.

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