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A taste for ancient medicine

Larry Chase with his fresh tomato soup for local flavours column
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Larry Chase was working as a fleet manager for a car dealership when he decided to take a jab at a new career.

After more than three decades in the automotive industry, his profession was becoming a pain in the neck, literally.

“I was getting pretty tired of my job and felt burnt out,” said Chase, who has suffered from scoliosis most of his life.

Years of physiotherapy and countless visits to a chiropractor only served to mask his pain, but it was acupuncture that would bring welcome relief.

Despite a lifelong fear of needles, Chase decided to give the ancient Chinese medicinal route a try. He didn’t anticipate it would change his life completely.

“I’ve always been interested in alternative medicine, so I decided to try it for myself,” said Chase, who first started with laser acupuncture in an attempt to avoid being pricked with needles. “I didn’t notice anything staggering, but could definitely tell something was happening.”

Eventually, he built up his nerve to try the real deal. After six treatments, Chase was pain free for the next six months.

“I couldn’t believe it. I knew it wouldn’t be permanent because my condition doesn’t ever go away, but it was the first time I’d felt free of pain.”

In 1999, at the age of 50, Chase decided to take a leap of faith and pursue a career in acupuncture. With support from his wife, Charlotte, the couple moved from Langley to Calgary, where he attended Grant McEwen College for the next four years. After obtaining his licence, he practised in Lethbridge for two years before moving to White Rock in 2005.

Last November, he opened his own practice, Leading Edge Acupuncture.

Looking back on his decision to jump ship from his previous career, Chase – who has long since gotten over his needle phobia – said he doesn’t have any regrets.

“I think if you follow your passion, you can’t go wrong. I’m proof of that.”

In addition to following his heart, Chase lets his taste buds guide him in the kitchen.

In this week’s addition of Local Flavours, he shares his adapted recipe for tomato soup, which he has borrowed from the late Pierre Berton, a Canadian literary icon. “I make this soup every year in big batches, it’s quite the undertaking, but worth the effort,” he said of the recipe which freezes well.

Tomato soup

(makes two large pots)


20 lb case field ripened tomatoes (abundant in August)

1 bunch of celery (whole stalks, finely chopped)

2 handfuls fresh parsley

several bunches of chopped green onions with tops on

salt to taste

garlic to taste

tobasco sauce to taste

cayenne pepper to taste

fresh/ dried oregano and sweet basil to taste


Chop tomatoes and throw in large pot with skins on. Set on medium heat and add celery and parsley. Throw onions in bubbling pot. Add salt, fresh ground pepper and several cloves of chopped garlic to taste, followed by several shots of Tobasco sauce and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle good portion of oregano add basil into soup.

Use a big strainer and another pot and pour as much of the soup through the strainer as possible. Take potato masher and squeeze vegetables through strainer and into soup. Keep soup hot, throw in a handful of chopped onions and celery, but let cook only a little so that they stay crunchy. Serve soup piping hot.