“Our Residents are participating in a cooking lab this morning,” says Francine, our activities director, “do you want to come up?” I grab a camera and head upstairs where nearly a dozen of our Residents gather along the counter, don plastic gloves and begin to chop, stir, squeeze and mash their way to an amazing guacamole. And yes, Paul and Kathaleen, it is much harder to squeeze juice from a lime when you’re wearing plastic gloves!
Though it is not officially summer until tomorrow, the amazing smells — essence of cilantro, jalapeno, lime, tomato, garlic and avocado — that quickly fill the air suggest otherwise. I spy bags of tortilla chips and my mouth begins to water. Alas, the recipe calls for refrigerating the guacamole for 1 hour and so this cooking crew will meet up later today to enjoy the fruit of their labor, a giant bowl of guacamole with some tortilla chips.
Cooking lab — a social activity — meets once a month, promotes camaraderie, and features a seasonal or favorite recipe from chocolate candy and zucchini bread to egg-drop soup. It is a wonderful opportunity for Residents that like to cook, may miss having their own kitchen, want to learn something new or simply like to socialize. Benefits to Residents range from reducing loneliness and depressed mood symptoms, to enhancing fine motor skills and working-memory. Oh… and let us not forget the resulting tasty creations — this one that tastes beautifully of summer.