When you mention comfort food, most people think of creamy pasta dishes or pot roast or roast turkey dinner. In other words, comfort food seems to be synonymous with heavy foods. To my mind, however, it means something entirely different. Taken literally, it just means food that brings comfort. We like foods that bring comfort when we feel weak, vulnerable and estranged.
Picture if you will, the feeling you get when you are feeling ill and someone brings in a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup, homemade. You can smell it before it even gets to the door. The smell of thyme, garlic and maybe roasted chicken is intoxicating. For some that might be a bowl of earthy Dal, for others it might be Avgolemono soup, and for still others it might be a decadent tomato soup. Food done correctly and with love can transport us to a place where we feel warm and secure.
It is with this thought in mind, that we at Nutrition Therapy Essentials have embarked on a journey to share our passion and expertise with our fellow professionals. We intend to help heighten the care and dedication that is devoted to the food in our skilled nursing facilities. We, as cooks, chefs and dietetic and nutrition professionals have a unique opportunity to help our residents feel warm and secure. By using professional techniques and cooking from scratch as much as possible we can add depth of flavor and texture while still maintaining healthy standards with our food. Add a little more knowledge of our residents’ background and how to cook for them and we can truly add to the quality of their life
On Friday, May 26th we had our first master class entitled “Let’s get cooking”. Our focus for this class was “Time Management” which is essential if we are to attempt to cook from scratch and improve our food quality. We spoke about planning our menu to the finest detail so that no minute was wasted in waiting for a dish to complete. To accomplish this, we made a braised dish called beef sugo which takes approximately 3 hours to cook. While this cooked, we had 4 groups making 4 mother sauces and then turn them into soups to their liking, all of which were amazing. We also roasted potatoes, carrots and brussels sprouts which we used in the soups and salad. We made vinaigrettes from scratch. We played with different ways to thicken soups and discussed and performed proper knife skills. We also discussed sanitation and cross-contamination risks.
All this was done leisurely and was amazing fun. We finished just in time for the sugo to be done which we served with freshly cooked pasta and broccoli. We ended the day around a beautiful wood table discussing what we had learned and how we could use it to brighten the lives of our residents. All of this is in line with our company theme, “Changing lives, one meal at a time”.