Food plays such a significant role in our lives beyond nutrition. In sheltered and retirement housing settings social activities have centred around for example coffee mornings, afternoon teas, and fish suppers as well sharing of food from different cultures to promote understanding and celebrate difference. Eating together is such a fundamental way we interact with each other whether fish and chips or lobster and steak.
Food can make us happy, override difference and status, overcomes loneliness and isolation, facilitate communication, provide food related stories to do, give us something to do, and even exercise for those of us who can get out to shop. The Covid-19 pandemic has put a stop to many food related social activities. Not necessarily a restaurant meal but even just a chat with a neighbour in a café over a drink and a cake, or a family get together.
I would describe myself as a foodie but over the last year I have alternated between finding cooking relaxing and distracting to never wanting to cook another meal in my life. But at the age of 57 I have discovered baking! I have never had the time. It started with Christmas when I do usually make the pudding, cake, and mince pies but I have gone on to make things I never thought I could – jam, marmalade, pickled anything, large and small and cakes, even oatcakes and cheese straws. Teaching myself to bake has given me something to focus on other than work and Covid, and of course it can all be done at home.
My greatest success has been a Victoria sandwich! I used to make this for my Dad but all attempts to recreate it since have failed miserably. My Dad has dementia but can typically better remember things from long ago than more recent events and my Victoria sponge set off a whole reminiscence session which highlights another positive role of food.
So, if my favourite lockdown bake is a Victoria sandwich, what’s yours?
Invite your residents to share theirs. All you have to do is email us a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us what it is (just in case there is any doubt) and include a sentence or two explaining why it is important. It could be a tried and tested recipe or something new. Sweet or savoury. No need for the recipe – avoids copyright issues. We will post our favourites on our website!
Rebecca Mollart (CEO)
Following Government advice Caerphilly Homes had to put in place restrictions in all their Sheltered Housing schemes due to Covid 19. Despite this, our tenants found a variety of ways to keep active and busy.
One of our sheltered housing tenants, Mrs Wood living in Nelson, baked this amazing cake for her son in law. We all agreed it was a great way to celebrate his 40th birthday!
“Lockdown has also helped me develop my baking skills, below is an Italian Meringue Lemon Cheesecake with Chocolate Biscuit Base. I’ve also learnt how to make my own sausages and burgers, as well as make and shape Pasta.”
Chris Thomas, Safeguarding and Service Standards Coordinator at Trivallis.