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Live-in cook/caretaker for a senior citizen


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My elderly father, a real meat and potatoes guy, inexplicably likes something called “shrimp with lobster sauce” from a local Chinese restaurant. It consists of stir-fried shrimp and onions in a bland clear gooey sauce. No spices that I can detect.

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My elderly father, a real meat and potatoes guy,  inexplicably likes something called “shrimp with lobster sauce” from a local Chinese restaurant. It consists of  stir-fried shrimp and onions in a bland clear gooey sauce. No spices that I can detect.

I'll bet the sauce is on the sweet side.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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My elderly father, a real meat and potatoes guy,  inexplicably likes something called “shrimp with lobster sauce” from a local Chinese restaurant. It consists of  stir-fried shrimp and onions in a bland clear gooey sauce. No spices that I can detect.

I'll bet the sauce is on the sweet side.

Heh. I'd be willing to go in on that bet with you.

In fact, the other night I had a resounding success with a home-made vinaigrette salad dressing -- which I spiked with honey. He loved it. Just a spoonful of sugar (or other sweetener) makes the veggies go down ... :laugh:

A few nights previous to that, I made a super-simple fast skillet braise of chicken thighs -- browned them off, sauteed up some onions and garlic, deglazed with a canful of whole tomatoes in their juice, seasoned to taste, tucked the chicken back in, and let it simmer till done. Served it over whole-wheat couscous. He inhaled that. I'm beginning to discover that he really likes the Italian/Mediterranean flavor profile -- tomatoes/garlic/olive oil. My inner foodie can definitely go to town on that.

Heh. He has sworn he can't stand either zucchini or eggplant. But as those vegetables are really wretched if miscooked--and miscooking happens to them frequently--I'm willing to bet cash money that he only hates them because he's never had them cooked right. So one of these days I'm planning to make my never-fail roast-vegetable ratatouille recipe, and see how that goes. I figure if I put in enough tomatoes and garlic, he'll be none the wiser. :biggrin:

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On the subject of making "too much of a fuss", have you told him how much you enjoy cooking for it's own sake? Perhaps if you put the emphasis on how much pleasure you get from making something in the kitchen instead of fussing over him, he might relax a little bit and be more comfortable. I'd be willing to bet in his mind, cooking is a chore, so it must be for you as well.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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On the subject of making "too much of a fuss", have you told him how much you enjoy cooking for it's own sake? Perhaps if you put the emphasis on how much pleasure you get from making something in the kitchen instead of fussing over him, he might relax a little bit and be more comfortable. I'd be willing to bet in his mind, cooking is a chore, so it must be for you as well.

Thanks, tejon -- I think I've pretty much won the "too much of a fuss" battle, by pretty much playing the angle you suggest above. Now we've moved on to . . . other issues. Such as deciphering taste preferences that even the prefer-er himself can't quite explain. :rolleyes::laugh:

For instance: why does E. dismiss as "stale-tasting" peanuts that taste perfectly fresh and okay to me, that even came right out of a freshly-opened can of Planters?

I have two theories on this: 1) unbeknownst to E, his taste buds are not what they used to be, and thus lots of things taste more muted that he recalls (I know for a fact that his sense of smell has become almost nil, and as we all know, knocking out the sense of smell can't help but have a massive effect on sense of taste); 2) he's misremembering which kind of nuts he used to buy, and instead of plain old roasted/salted peanuts, it's something like those honey-roasted nuts (I tried asking him about this but it's useless, he doesn't remember, and suggestions of flavored or coated nuts only seems to confuse him more).

It's kind of expensive to keep buying different sorts of peanuts in the hope that I'll hit it right, especially since normally I don't eat 'em, so they'll either go to waste, or go to my waist, both of which options I detest. :laugh: So, I think I'll wait until the honey-roasted peanuts go on sale and spring 'em on him--I figure even if those aren't what he used to get, the sweetness factor couldn't hurt. After all, as somebody (forgive me, Somebody, for forgetting who you are!) observed, the sense of sweet is often the last to remain after all the other flavor-sensing tastebuds have conked out.

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You are doing such a great job and your caring comes out with each sentence. As to peanuts- perhaps he was getting the dry roasted and salted ones- the flavor is more concentrated compared to the regular oil roasted which can taste flat.

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My elderly father, a real meat and potatoes guy,  inexplicably likes something called “shrimp with lobster sauce” from a local Chinese restaurant. It consists of  stir-fried shrimp and onions in a bland clear gooey sauce. No spices that I can detect.

I'll bet the sauce is on the sweet side.

I don't think I've ever had sweet shrimp with lobster sauce, unless it's different from what I get around here. That's a garlicky eggy sauce. It also has lots of white pepper in it though, so it might be different.

ETA: I wanted to say I think you're doing a great thing! Way to go!

Edited by emilyr (log)

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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  • 4 weeks later...

A little update: I made E some "hamburger helper" (actually a store brand knockoff) for dinner tonight. He adored it. Told me it was real comfort food for him. Asked for seconds, after being assured that there would still be enough leftovers for next day's lunch. Heh. Myself, I thought it mainly tasted of salt and MSG, but hey, who am I to begrudge him his food joy? Alas, because of the killer sodium content it's probably better if I make this for him only once in a while, but that will only make its "special treat" status all the more so. :biggrin:

Equally a winner, but a little more into "haute" territory: now that the weather around here has cooled off considerably, I was able to use a chunk of beef cheek I'd hidden away in the freezer to make a really nice and tender stew (simmered all day in the crock pot). E loved this too, and again made a beeline for the leftovers the following day. He also, again, made a point of letting me know how much he liked this kind of cooking. So--okay, score another one for classic meat-and-potatoes type preparations. I can roll with that.

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