WIAW 199 – North Carolina Summer
Well, actually, now it stopped raining and cooled off. The last few days we have had cool night and bright sunny days in the low 80s. Perfect July weather, by my standards! Perfect June weather, here, it seems… But we went though a phase of 90something afternoons with on and off cloudbursts every day. Rather wetter than usual, but otherwise typical, they tell me…
The parents now have a series of physical and occupational therapists coming to the house (and if you have aging family members, and they can get such assistance, by all means make sure they take advantage of it! They really help with basic every day living – easier and safer ways to do all sorts of things. And they can teach you how to best assist your loved ones.) But between them and doctors, my scheduling is now more complicated than it was when I freelanced!
We are going to have some changes here in Inhabited Kitchen. My cooking has had to change a little to make meals both more appealing and easier to eat. (And that last is another thing the therapists have helped me with.) I have realized that there isn’t much out there about the issues of cooking for the elderly. What there is tends to concentrate on making freezer meals for a parent you do not live with who has some trouble cooking – the sort of thing I did three years ago – but not for an elder who is part of your household and may have one or another issue actually eating. (Which may be anything from loss of appetite to loss of the sense of taste to difficulty chewing to difficulty swallowing… and others, I am sure.)
I am not talking (so far, at least) about actual medical diets for severe levels of these problems – there are sources that address that. I just need to make family meals that we all eat but which appeal to our 90something year old parents. I do not expect this to dominate my recipes, but to be background, just as my own chronic illness has been in the background. It affected my cooking, and was the reason I initially developed ways to pull a meal together easily, but I still made recipes most people could use and would enjoy – I expect that to continue. But with more sauce, and fewer chewy, crunchy foods! (And a few recipes with extra nutrition built in, so that someone with low appetite still gets enough… )
And even if you are not in this situation, and do not expect to be, everything will still be tasty (after all, Rich and I are eating it, too!) And many of the recipes may also be appealing to someone with a garden variety sore throat or dental work – and we all need to deal with that sort of issue, occasionally.
So anyhow – What I Ate
I’m still doing grits! Making muffins ahead of time sounded like a good idea, and I did it a few times (and somehow never got a picture) – but I never actually want (or have time) to make them, and eating several day old muffins wasn’t appealing, and… I have less time to eat every morning anyway, with the current schedule. I can eat a hot breakfast – I have in the past and with the HVAC system it’s cooler in the house than it often was in the morning in NYC, but… it seems silly… I’m going to keep poking at ideas.
I have, however, finally worked out an eas(ier) salad for lunch. I don’t have room here for the whole salad bar arrangement (though I’m working on that…) but I can wash enough greens the night before to give me a start. So the other day I had washed lettuce and arrugula, chickpeas, some cooked chicken, carrots and celery. I don’t have salad dressing yet, other than cruets of oil and vinegar, so I added mayo with a dab of commercial pesto – which turns out to work quite well as a creamy salad dressing! I had a little blue cheese – my treat, half the household is allergic to it so that’s the one thing I can eat that they can’t – on rice cakes.
Laughing… so, Rich and I have this story about the time we went out to dinner… He ordered scallops (to which I am allergic) and linguine (gluten) because he could when we weren’t in my kitchen. I ordered a steak (I don’t get that much) and baked potato (gluten free…) And I had blue cheese dressing on my salad (because I could.) The waiter was certain that each should eat the other’s dinner! Apparently we do not meet his concept of gendered food norms… Then Rich ordered a chocolate cake, and the poor man firmly brought two forks and put it between us – and then I didn’t even nibble. Shocking…
Anyway – dinner was a variant on the Southwest Skillet. No beans, and I added tomato juice to make the whole thing moister. Tortilla chips on the side, partly because they taste good and partly so FIL would feel he had a real meal – the poor man does not like one dish meals, he always feels that he is missing something.
And that sort of reaction also affects my menu planning… I used to make one pan meals quite often since they are easy, but rarely do, now. There must be a side dish other than the tossed salad which also must accompany every dinner. It is important that any other adults in the house enjoy and feel satisfied – cooking for Rich affect my meal planning when I started to do that, too. And the parents must not feel shunted aside in their own home…