A Taste of Comfort at Beamsley House
For the past eight months, Sarah-Jane, a dedicated Housekeeper at Beamsley House sheltered housing, part of Abbeyfield South Downs, has been crafting delightful dishes that bring comfort to the residents.
In this blog, she delves into her passion for both food and people, offering insights into her culinary inspirations, the art of creating nourishing meals, and her fondness for working alongside older people.
"I'm the Housekeeper here at Beamsley House, and I've been with Abbeyfield South Downs for the last 8 months or so. I currently cater for 8 residents and started coming up with new dishes because I have a huge passion for being creative with food and feeding people. I love to see people enjoying food. What I enjoy most about working at Abbeyfield is the people, for sure. It's so much more than a job; it's being part of a family and making a difference."
"The most popular dishes vary, but the residents really enjoy food with a little kick, like burritos, curries, and noodles. A balanced cooked breakfast is very popular on a Saturday morning, and we've added knickerbocker glories to the menu once a week, which is a hit. Pavlova is also very popular. I try to keep things varied and new, but also seasonal. I tend to experiment at home and then bring it into work in a Beamsley way. I also read a lot of food magazines and look online for fresh inspiration.
"The most important factors are keeping notes on their preferences, understanding that mealtimes are a significant part of their day, and making sure they feel heard in terms of what they like and their dietary needs. Their needs change too, so it's essential to keep up with everyone. A healthy meal is balanced and never sacrifices flavour. It should have lots of colour and always be made from scratch.
"I am passionate about their favourite flavours and meals. I feel proud that I have built a relationship with our residents where they feel comfortable enough to say if they haven’t enjoyed it or want something changed. I use labels for their plates when I dish up to ensure that each plate is tailored to each of their preferences. We have small eaters and big eaters, some that prefer more sauce or less sauce, and some that only like certain vegetables. It helps me make sure they are getting all they need and enjoying their meal. I ask for feedback when we try something new and I like to write jokes on their napkins!"
"I do believe that keeping all meals balanced, fun, and yummy goes a long way when it comes to boosting cognitive skills. Fresh vegetables, balanced meals, and cooking from scratch with love are important. Making meal times memorable and meaningful also contributes positively.
"What I enjoy most about my job is the people. I care for them a lot and take so much pleasure in learning about them as individuals. I love to see the residents happy and enjoy the fact that I can make a difference through food. I would definitely recommend working at Abbeyfield to others. It's pure joy, more of a lifestyle than a job, and for anyone passionate about people and food, it's a dream."