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There are very few things in life that we ALL do….

Posted: January 16, 2013

Eating is one of them. Food is common denominator amongst all of us. Food is the icebreaker between residents. At both Golda Meir House and Shillman House, food is one of the first topics of conversation started by a new tenant. “How’s the food here” is a conversation often overheard. The newcomers table at Golda is always filled. New residents are welcomed with open arms over a nice hot lunch! There are not many things in life that everyone have an opinion about.  Food is certainly one of them.

You can learn a lot about someone by what they eat. “You are what you eat” is a term from the 60’s. What we eat sometimes defines us as a person. We oftentimes stereotype people by what they eat. If a person eats a lot of red meat we think of them as aggressive. A vegetarian is an empathetic person Stereotypes are not healthy but there is a lot of truth to them.

In dining services we cook for everyone of all tastes. We like to mix up our menus so there is something for everyone. I like to think our cooking crosses all lines. One day you will see brown rice and the next day fried chicken. Our dining programs get our residents out of their apartments and into the dining rooms. People tend to linger and schmooze long after the meal is done. The socialization is as important as the nutritional content.  I think a happy engaged resident will live longer than another resident that takes their meals alone. Successful eating is part of successful aging. At our Brighton campus, the Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) offers meals seven days a week to very frail residents. They cannot cook. Without us they could not live in JCHE housing. The residents who take part in the Club Genesis meals program, also based in Brighton, are just so thankful every time I see them, I want to hug each one.  

 I encourage residents to make suggestions as to what they would like to see on the menu. I explain that this is YOUR meals program and I just manage it for you. I enjoy telling residents that I am in the “yes” business. You should see the look on a residents face when an item they had suggested appears on our menu. I think encouraging residents to help with the direction of the meals programs also adds to the benefits it affords them

Personally for me the best part of my job is walking through the dining rooms after a meal and seeing all of the smiling faces. It validates the job we are doing and to me that is better than all the money in the world. The residents of Golda, Shillman and Brighton are so thankful for what foodservice does for them. There is no better feeling. None!

 

Posted by David Seltzer, JCHE Director of Dining Services   January 16, 2013


Photo Caption: Group of dining services staff, joined by other GMH staff, responsible for creating a brunch at Golda. First on the left is Kristina Zeqo, Manager of Dining Services. David Seltzer, Director of Dining Services, is last on the right.

 

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