When I received Nathalie’s application email telling me that she and her husband lived with his mother, I immediately assumed that the two of them were the elderly lady’s caregivers. It didn’t take long for me to realise how wrong – how very, very wrong – I was!
Lise is full of life and doesn’t seem her age at all. She’s switched on and outspokenly funny! Nathalie is a nurse, and emits the kind of gentleness that puts you immediately at ease. Paul is a building inspector, and a person of obvious and effortless happiness. He had a smile on his face throughout our meeting. They’ve all lived together for 10 years, and they form a likeable and appealing trio.
Transcribing this interview wasn’t easy; our conversation flowed, we passed smoothly from one subject to another … I have to admit, at times I even forgot that I had questions I needed to ask, I was having so much fun. I could have continued chatting even longer, and at the end of our meeting, I couldn’t help but scoop them up in a hug. Now it’s your turn to fall for them!
How is the three of you living together working out?
Nathalie: Generally, it’s going well! Each of us has our own character and values, so of course little adjustments are sometimes needed, but it works! She’s a lot of fun, it’s good to have her with us!
Paul: My mom didn’t feel safe living on her own anymore. She’s pretty independent, but she feels a lot safer knowing we’re here, or nearby, if something happens.
And you Lise, do you keep busy while they’re out at work?
Lise: Oh yes, I do my washing … I even do theirs! (Laughing) I keep myself occupied, I have my little bits and pieces! Sometimes, when I go to the hair salon, I stop off for some fries or a poutine beforehand. (Laughing)
You said in your introductory email that you’ve discovered new ingredients thanks to Cook It.
Lise: Yes! It something a bit different, but still, there are some things that I don’t like!
Nathalie: Here’s an example – my mother-in-law used to not eat lamb. She believed the old wives’ tale that it tastes like wool! (Laughing) So one time, our Cook It box came with lamb inside, and we didn’t tell her that’s what it was … and she liked it! Now, apart from a few vegetarian dishes, she eats everything, and that’s thanks to Cook It!
Paul: At first, we’d often make adjustments, like we’d mix minced beef with minced lamb, or we’d use different seasonings, but we don’t need to do that anymore! It’s been about two years now, so we’re used to it! And it’s great because we never eat the same thing!
How does living as a trio, rather than a duo, affect your dynamic?
Paul: Well, honestly, we wouldn’t really know – we’ve never lived together just the two of us! (Laughing)
Nathalie: When Paul and I met, I was living with my three children. Then Paul’s dad, who had been separated from Lise for 25 years, came to live with us, and at the same time Lise started to have a few health concerns. So we called a family meeting, and after our discussions, Lise also came to live with us. So we ended up reuniting a couple that had been separated for 25 years! (Laughing) Back then, with all the boyfriends and girlfriends in the picture at the time, there were nearly nine people around the dinner table!
Paul: So we’ve never actually lived together just as a couple, but we do get one-on-one time when we go on holiday!
Nathalie: We’re going to Europe for three weeks soon – it’s going to be a great trip! And while we’re away, Lise is going to visit her sisters!
Lise: Yes, I don’t stay on my own anymore! They’ll take me there on their journey out and they’ll pick me up again on their way back! I’m pretty lucky!
Cook It favourite:
Nathalie: Definitely the beetroot risotto!
Lise: The fish dishes are all delicious too!
Lise: I really liked the restaurant we went to for my birthday, l’État Major.
Nathalie: We like discovering new places sometimes, but we’re not that into restaurants, we only go about once a month.
Nathalie: I have a talent for sauces and soups!
Paul: I think my bison with preserved lemon is seriously good!
Lise: Cabbage rolls, boiled beef, chop suey, shepherd’s pie … people still ask for my cabbage rolls even though I don’t cook anymore!
Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Nathalie and Paul: Definitely dinner!
Lise: I like breakfast – after all, it’s the most important meal of the day!
Nathalie: I will say that we really like French food!
Paul: I know I’m alone here, but I really like Indian food!
Lise: Me, I love fries and I love poutine!