Keeping up with our Seniors: Ode to our cooks

By Carolyn Johnson

We work really hard at the Senior Citizen’s Center to keep things fun and active. I have written several articles on the events, programs, and activities we provide but today I want to tell you all about the one thing that always draws the biggest crowds for us. That is our daily luncheon. With the help of South Plains Association of Governments, we serve five noon meals each week. Our average daily attendance for this past week was 68. You can do the math. That’s 340 meals per week, 1,362 per month. No small feat.
We are blessed to have two wonderful cooks that have both a passion for their jobs and expert kitchen skills. Head Cook Marion Dooley has worked here at the Center for over six and a half years. Her assistant cook is Tomasa Cruz. Tomasa has been here over two years. Their combined experience and great work ethic results in healthy delicious meals that we all enjoy.
I was dining with one of our participants the other day when she began to brag on the quality of our food. “This tastes like a homemade meal”, she told me. “Not like the dump meals I prepare at home.” Those two words, dump meals, caused me to take a moment and ponder. I’ve never used the word “dump” to describe anything I’ve eaten or even thought about eating.
So, I asked the obvious question, “What is a dump meal?” She educated me. I learned that dump cooking is a technique that allows you to simply dump a variety of ingredients into a pot, pan, or casserole dish. You then turn on the heat, pop it in the oven and turn out meals that you hope everyone will love.
She continued to educate me. She told me, “There’s dump soup, dump casseroles, dump cakes, dump appetizers, — even dump dinners.” I was assured by her that I would love this type of cooking mainly because I could do it with minimum effort. How do you think my Thanksgiving turkey would taste if I gave it only minimum effort? And how high would those yeast rolls rise if I put minimum effort into making them?
She never sold me on the idea of dump meals. She was sold, however, on the cook’s abilities when she tasted sweet potato pie which was our dessert for the day. Marion and Tomasa had knocked this one out of the ball park—rich and buttery with a wonderfully flaky crust. She ate the whole piece without saying a word. She didn’t have to. No dump dessert here. Only maximum effort with a whole lot of love!
(Please call us at 272-4969 to find out more about our meal program.)

This Friday, April 12, 2019, Tim Mearet will bring his Medicare Answer Team to our center from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Come and enjoy a cup o’ Jo and donuts with him on this morning. Tim claims he can’t be stumped on any questions about medicare and he will work with you to see you are getting all the benefits you qualify for on this program. This Q and A session is free of charge and is for anyone who is on medicare or soon will be.

MONDAY, April 15 – Chicken Fajita, Refried Beans, White Rice, Tossed Vegetable Salad, Lo Cal French Dressing, Whole Wheat Tortillas, Ambrosia – Note also works for beef fajitas
TUESDAY, April 16 – Salmon Patties, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Peas, Tossed Vegetable Salad, Lo Cal French Dressing, Sliced Whole Wheat Bread, Peach-Apple Crisp
WEDNESDAY, April 17 – Baked Chicken & Dumplings, Whole Wheat Roll, Margarine, Peas, Tossed Salad w/Dressing, Winter Fruit Cup
THURSDAY, April 18 – Sweet & Sour Pork, Fried Rice, Mixed Vegetables, Tossed Salad w/Dressing, Fruit Parfait
FRIDAY, April 19 – Fish or Chicken Strips, Borracho Beans, Green Peas, Tossed Vegetable Salad, Lo Cal French Dressing, Whole Wheat Roll, Tropical Fruit Mix

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