The holidays can be a wonderful time for younger and older adults to bond …especially when it comes to sharing family traditions. Planning to spend time making festive recipes together can create memories and bring back joyful recollections of days gone by.
Perhaps there is a dish that an aging parent hasn’t had for years, that can be made with children and grandchildren helping. If the original recipe has been written on worn scraps of paper, it’s time to enter the information into a computer. Add notes to each recipe about whose favorite the recipe is and where it originated. Snap a photo of the proud chefs with the finished dish and upload it too. You can even share the picture and recipe on Facebook with other family members and see what memories it stirs. Next thing you know, you’ll have begun to create an intergenerational cookbook to hand down.
Grandchildren can learn more about their family history by asking their grandparents who in the family prepared a particular dish, or when a dish was served. This can bring on recollections of relatives and long-ago memories that have special meaning to your senior. “My great-aunt Henrietta always made that peppermint chocolate cake for Christmas Eve. I remember how she used to serve it on a china cake plate with tiny little angels on it.” Best of all, seniors might just share some secrets that make these heirloom recipes taste especially good.
This also can open up conversations between generations about old-fashioned ingredients that were used and what it was like to prepare for the holidays back then. It’s a chance to pass along special skills, in the warmth of the kitchen.
While some aging parents may be physically limited when it comes to actually cooking a recipe, making the recipe for them and carrying on their traditions is a perfect idea. If your loved one is not the cook in the family, ask what their favorite holiday dish is and try to recreate it. Even if they live far away, it may be possible to package up and send that food to your senior.
So set aside some me-and-you time with an older adult to cook and share holiday recipes together. It will reveal priceless information about their personality, family roots and favorite stories from the past…and most likely, recipes that are irresistible!
The caregivers at Home Care Assistance of Fort Worth can help your senior prepare some of their favorite holiday foods, and encourage sharing of memories.