Food is so much more than nutrition. It serves as a social unifier, a vessel for tradition and a way to celebrate. It connects people and places and it provides a sense of familiarity. In hospice care, where comfort is paramount, food also plays a key role. And for Julie Elwood, Sous Chef at Regional Hospice, adapting food to fit patients’ needs is a necessity.
Recently, Julie introduced the use of puree molds to the Center for Comfort Care & Healing. These culinary tools form the shapes that their respective purees are made of, making the dishes appear more familiar and appealing to patients. “You first eat with your eyes,” Julie says.
To make foods using the puree molds requires a series of steps. First, a typical meal is prepared. Each section of the meal is then pureed with water or gravy. This liquid is put through a strainer to become smoother, and a thickener is added until the consistency is pudding-like. The puree is then poured into the food’s respective mold and frozen to keep its shape. Before being served, the shaped food is removed from the mold and heated.
Compassion is the motivation driving this series of extra steps for Julie and the Regional Hospice culinary team. Because some patients require pureed foods, using the molds can provide an additional degree of normalcy and dignity. It also creates more inclusivity during mealtime. For those who require pureed foods, their dishes are just as beautiful as everyone else’s, says Julie.
Reported and written by Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva