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Cooking for 50 Senior Citizens


CaliPoutine
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I dunno, Randi.  I think it's time to find another job where you're more appreciated!

Believe me, I'm trying. There are NO jobs in my town and I dont relish the thought of driving to London in the Winter( I'm from Cali, remember, I'm not a good Winter driver)

I hear you. Hell, I've lived here all my life and I don't do winter driving either. I feel for you. This is going nowhere good, fast.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Why don't you come back home to California? The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and people are into good food.....

Well, if my marriage(same-sex) would be recognized by the US Gov't, I'd run back home ( Dont know if Robin would join me though, She LOVES Canada. LOL).

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I'm really sorry to hear the lousy response to your meals - they all look wonderful to me and the peach trifle this time looks better than half the desserts served in restaurants around here. Even the peas and carrots look lovely and I hate peas and carrots!

I enjoy reading your accounts and seeing your pictures, but I'm afraid I have to agree with the other posters - it's time for you to move on to somewhere your talents will be appreciated. I hope the right opportunity presents itself for you soon!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I've been following this thread for ages and I cannot believe the grief these people give you. Your food looks healthy and flavorful. It's amazing what you are able to create considering the extremely limited budget you have to work with. I hope you find another position soon where your talents are appreciated.

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I've been following this thread for ages and I cannot believe the grief these people give you.  Your food looks healthy and flavorful. It's amazing what you are able to create considering the extremely limited budget you have to work with.  I hope you find another position soon where your talents are appreciated.

I COULD NOT AGREE MORE - WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? I THINK THAT THEY ARE NUTS, PERSONALLY.

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I also think you need to quit. But...

I would serve them one more meal, and make it all processed stuff--like that pot roast made with cream of mushroom soup and lipton onion soup mix. And instant potatoes. And those horrible bagged mixed vegetables complete with lima beans. And lots of cool whip topped canned fruit. They'll rave about it, and say, "This is what we've wanted all along! You're great!"

And then quit, and let the next person suffer them.

Always go out on top.

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We had our cook's meeting today. Other cook's from all over the county were there. It was eye opening. Things we were told today.

1. We all need to wear uniforms. The uniform consists of a "scrub" top. In my opinion, the only people that should wear "scrub" tops are doctors and nurses. My coordinator picked up some of these tops at a discount(3.00 each). I think she got them at a thrift store. She said to me " You dont have to pay me for yours, its my gift to you". Awww, thanks. I asked if I can wear my chef's jacket instead. I was told I could.

2. We can't bring in any "home canned" food. I guess other cooks are bringing in preserves and chili sauce they make. I've never done that, nor would I.

3. We need to buy tarps for our car when we transport food to the program. I'm fine with that, the last time I brought over the pot roast, it sloshed a bit in my car.

4. Don't use bagged salad( I never do) or bagged coleslaw( I do use that, It's cheap and convienient).

5. Dont use store bought potato salad( I have used that). Limit your use of storebought pie.

We were given menu's ideas and recipes from the other cooks. Two of the cooks included a dessert that was made with Nutrawhip(???), canned pie filling and saltine crackers. Uhhh, no thanks.

Its amazing what some of the other programs feed their people. Things like Quiche, chicken baked in pasta sauce, spagetti salad( I've never heard of that, it has cooked spagetti, coolwhip and fruit), chili, and hamburgers. I think my coordinator is starting to understand the type of seniors I have to feed. They're different, thats for sure.

Our lunch was catered by a chef from a restaurant in Grand Bend( where my program is). Of course I knew every single ingredient she used. She made a shredded filo stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms. The gal sitting next to me has NEVER had filo. I asked her if she ever had spanikopita or baklava and she said NO. She'd never even heard of it. They also didnt know what the pea shoot was on our plate. The chef spoke about the lunch, how she made it, etc. Everyone was ohhhhing and ahhhhing over the food. It was good and I think they could probably make it themselves, but honestly, its too fancy for the seniors. I told my cordinator I'd make the dessert this week. These other cooks have never even heard of lemon curd. Oy....

Here is the lunch menu.

Mushroom and goat cheese strudel made with shredded filo pastry, roasted garlic aioli( the other cook's couldnt even pronounce this, let alone know what it is)

Parmesean crusted turkey scallopini w/ corn whipped mini red skin potatoes

Lemon thyme vinaigrette w/ red onion marmalade

Mini Tuille of filo pastry w/ lemon curd, berries and whipped cream.

I heard from the other cooks that no one buys real whipped cream( unless its thanksgiving or xmas)

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I heard from the other cooks that no one buys real whipped cream( unless its thanksgiving or xmas)

I suppose that in some places, the fake stuff is cheaper, although my experiences has been that cool whip costs more than real cream from Costco.

Karen Dar Woon

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4. Don't use bagged salad( I never do) or bagged coleslaw( I do use that, It's cheap and convienient).

5. Dont use store bought potato salad( I have used that).  Limit your use of storebought pie.

So, pardon me for not knowing, but does the pay warrant enough time to actually hand cut the coleslaw or make the pastry by hand? Our program pays me "just" enough to oversee the volunteers for about 5 hours, plus 2-3 hours of shopping. I can't imaging using hand-made pastry for enough pies for 100 guests (our average). [runs from room... screaming]

Karen Dar Woon

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4. Don't use bagged salad( I never do) or bagged coleslaw( I do use that, It's cheap and convienient).

5. Dont use store bought potato salad( I have used that).  Limit your use of storebought pie.

So, pardon me for not knowing, but does the pay warrant enough time to actually hand cut the coleslaw or make the pastry by hand? Our program pays me "just" enough to oversee the volunteers for about 5 hours, plus 2-3 hours of shopping. I can't imaging using hand-made pastry for enough pies for 100 guests (our average). [runs from room... screaming]

Yeah, I KNOW!! I get paid for 7.5hrs. I spend about 1.5hrs shopping. I suppose I can use the cuisinart for the cabbage. I do have 2 volunteers that help me ( peel potatoes, make salad, etc). I can tell you that I wont be making pie dough.

I was looking at the menu ideas from the other cook's and I was just shaking my head. I could never get away with serving quiche or chili or shake and bake chicken( I'd never make this). I think the coordinator is starting to realize what type of clients I'm cooking for. They arent like the seniors from the other programs.

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I was looking at the menu ideas from the other cook's and I was just shaking my head.  I could never get away with serving quiche or chili or shake and bake chicken( I'd never make this).  I think the coordinator is starting to realize what type of clients I'm cooking for.  They arent like the seniors from the other programs.

Has she gotten the results of the questionnaire, yet? I'm curious as to what they DO want. Do they want to eat the same things every week?

I kinda like shake and bake, though I haven't had it in decades...

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I was looking at the menu ideas from the other cook's and I was just shaking my head.  I could never get away with serving quiche or chili or shake and bake chicken( I'd never make this).   I think the coordinator is starting to realize what type of clients I'm cooking for.  They arent like the seniors from the other programs.

Has she gotten the results of the questionnaire, yet? I'm curious as to what they DO want. Do they want to eat the same things every week?

I kinda like shake and bake, though I haven't had it in decades...

She hasnt even handed it out yet.

eta: Robin likes shake and bake too. They kept stressing in the meeting that we were to prepare foods( especially for programs that only meet 2x a month like mine) that the seniors wont prepare at home. I guess that means roasts, hams, etc. Although, I've seen small hams in the grocery store that will serve 3-4 people.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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They kept stressing in the meeting that we were to prepare foods( especially for programs that only meet 2x a month like mine) that the seniors wont prepare at home.  I guess that means roasts, hams, etc.  Although, I've seen  small hams in the grocery store that will serve 3-4 people.

At our program, "won't prepare at home" is sometimes anything other than grilled cheese and tomato soup. :raz:

Today's menu is: Roast pork loin w/garlic and black pepper, rosemary potatoes (blanching off, then roasting), tossed salad, braised carrots with fennel, apple bread pudding. I hardly ever cook "roasts" because I'm paranoid of not being ready on time. The meat will be 50-70% of the food budget for this week ($3 per person x 100 guests). It's 11 degrees C, here today, so maybe I will serve soup (cream of broccoli, pre-made, frozen). Guests who do not eat pork will be offered veggie burgers.

All the produce is coming off the farm this morning, so will need to be wash (by hand) and chopped. Bread was donated from a local bakery. One of the regular guests dropped off apples last week. I cannot serve the ham/pea soup that a volunteer came in to make on Monday, because that is too much pork for one menu.

We will have 4 regular volunteers for prep, and I am training 3 new people and having 2 admin meetings this afternoon. Thank goodness for my "regulars".

Then I take 2 weeks off for vacation. Yay! It was a real exercise to get subs for the two weeks. I have just planned both their menus, and done the shopping and workflow breakdowns.

Karen Dar Woon

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I just got a call from the supervisor.  She wanted to let me know how a cook at another program cooks her roast.  She buys an Outside round roast and cooks it from frozen.  She puts it in a pan with a bit of water.  She covers the pan with saran wrap and then foil( I didnt know you can cook saran wrap).  She cooks it at 325f for 1/2 per pound.  Does this sound right?  Do you cook beef from frozen?

Uh...no.

I don't cook meat very much (you could say I'm ALMOST a vegetarian :wink: ) but even I know this is wrong.

edit: just saw the thread. well what do you know. huh. that being said, I'm not about to do that anytime soon.

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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They kept stressing in the meeting that we were to prepare foods( especially for programs that only meet 2x a month like mine) that the seniors wont prepare at home.   I guess that means roasts, hams, etc.  Although, I've seen  small hams in the grocery store that will serve 3-4 people.

At our program, "won't prepare at home" is sometimes anything other than grilled cheese and tomato soup. :raz:

Today's menu is: Roast pork loin w/garlic and black pepper, rosemary potatoes (blanching off, then roasting), tossed salad, braised carrots with fennel, apple bread pudding. I hardly ever cook "roasts" because I'm paranoid of not being ready on time. The meat will be 50-70% of the food budget for this week ($3 per person x 100 guests). It's 11 degrees C, here today, so maybe I will serve soup (cream of broccoli, pre-made, frozen). Guests who do not eat pork will be offered veggie burgers.

All the produce is coming off the farm this morning, so will need to be wash (by hand) and chopped. Bread was donated from a local bakery. One of the regular guests dropped off apples last week. I cannot serve the ham/pea soup that a volunteer came in to make on Monday, because that is too much pork for one menu.

We will have 4 regular volunteers for prep, and I am training 3 new people and having 2 admin meetings this afternoon. Thank goodness for my "regulars".

Then I take 2 weeks off for vacation. Yay! It was a real exercise to get subs for the two weeks. I have just planned both their menus, and done the shopping and workflow breakdowns.

Your meal sounds great. My seniors would love it. Do you regularly stay within budget?

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I went shopping for tomorrow's meal. I'm making shepard's pie. Extra lean ground beef is 3.00lb. I ordered 15lbs( I'm supposed to have 30ppl).

I went into the office today and made the lemon curd. I used the recipe that the chef( who catered our lunch) gave me. It called for 1 c. of juice, zest, 1.5c of sugar 12 yolks and 1c. of butter. I kept the 12 whites. I wish I had an angel food cake pan so I could use them up.

I bought strawberries(2.00lb) and raspberries(2.00 pint). I bought 2 of each which might be too much. I also bought 2 packages of filo( 2.99 each). I'll make the filo cups tomorrow. I bought 2 quarts of heavy cream last week( on sale for 2.00 each). I'll whip one and use the other for the Thanksgiving meal( Oct 9th)

The grocery store had a special of 4 bacon wrapped pork medallions for .99 I bought 15 for my program. I'm not sure when I'll use them, but they're encouraging us to buy meat when its on special for the freezer.

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Cali - Have you tried Carr Valley Mobay? It's wonderful cheese that combines a layer of sheeps milk with a layer of goats milk separated by a layer of grape vine ash. It's mild, but still sophisticated. I know you shop at Whole Foods when you're in Ann Arbor. I'm sure they'll have it there. Give it a try!

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I went shopping for tomorrow's meal.  I'm making shepard's pie.  Extra lean ground beef is 3.00lb.  I ordered 15lbs( I'm supposed to have 30ppl). 

I went into the office today and made the lemon curd.  I used the recipe that the chef( who catered our lunch) gave me.  It called for 1 c. of juice, zest, 1.5c of sugar 12 yolks and 1c. of butter.  I kept the 12 whites.  I wish I had an angel food cake pan so I could use them up.

I bought strawberries(2.00lb) and raspberries(2.00 pint).  I bought 2 of each which might be too much.  I also bought 2 packages of filo( 2.99 each).  I'll make the filo cups tomorrow.  I bought 2 quarts of heavy cream last week( on sale for 2.00 each).  I'll whip one and use the other for the Thanksgiving meal( Oct 9th)

The grocery store had a special of 4 bacon wrapped pork medallions for .99  I bought 15 for my program.  I'm not sure when I'll use them, but they're encouraging us to buy meat when its on special for the freezer.

Randi - you can make angel food cake in a loaf pan, too. You just use 2 loaf pans in place of a 10" tube pan. Easy to portion, too! Thinking of you a lot these days and hoping things are going better for you.

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Kim-Thanks for the suggestion.

Last night was another night I felt like walking out. I was in no mood for complaints as my grandma passed away that morning( she was 92!!).

I made the Shepard's pie, but didnt take any pics because I've made the same thing before. As I was looking at the seniors lined up( getting ready to pay for their meal), I heard one lady say " We're having Shepard's Pie". I HATE that.

Apparently she called the office and was told they were having chicken( I was going to do chicken, but I changed my mind).

I had 2 full pies leftover( I made them in square foil pans). They were sold for 8.00 each. The salad always goes over well. I served sliced tomatoes too.

The dessert( I did take a pic, I'll upload later) was labor intensive. I made all the filo cups when I got to the church. The filo was in rough shape, so I basically was piecing it together. I'd made the lemon curd the day before.

It was a beautiful dessert and I heard no complaints. But, then again, no one complimented me either.

I seriously dont know whats wrong with these people. They gave me a sympathy card( that the coordinator brought for them to fill out) and they all signed it. Everyone signed their name in one row running down the length of the card. No one wrote any other comments beside their name. I just find that kinda weird. When I worked in an office and we filled out cards for people, everyone wrote a little tidbit in addition to their name. These are strange people!!

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Here are the suvey results. No big surprises here.

SURVEY RESULTS

FAVOURITE MEAL

Roast Beef – 20

Chicken – 17

Roast Pork – 11

Sausage – 3

Roast Turkey – 3

Meat Loaf – 3

Ham – 2

Stew – 2

Pork Chops – 1

Chinese – 1

Lasagna – 1

Cabbage Rolls – 1

Chicken Fingers – 1

Liver – 1

Best Meal:

Roast Beef Dinner with all the trimmings – 10 – (2 great comments on your last beef meal)

Roast Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings – 5

Honey Garlic Sausage – 1

Chinese – 1

Chicken Legs – 1

Steak – 1

BUFFET STYLE MEALS:

Yes – 14

No - 11

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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Oh Randi! *hugs*

You're right. Those people are the weirdest, most ungrateful, insensitive people I've ever heard of! I can't wait to see your dessert, I'm sure it's gorgeous!

Looks like it's roast beef roast beef roast beef. *sigh*

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