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Jelly for dessert

Posted by noeleendickson 
Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 04:56AM
My mother is in a resthome and often for dessert they get jelly in a bowl. Just jelly nothing else.
I feel this is very poor, surely they should have whipped cream on top or serve it with fruit salad or fresh fruit.
Just wondering what others think.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 05:06AM
It's probably sugar free as well, blah!

Yes, I think it should be served with fruit and/or cream or ice cream. Often our elderly struggle to eat enough calories to maintain their weight, and adding something with a bit more substance would help. I hope they don't serve dinner at 5pm as well, it makes for a very long wait for breakfast!
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 06:35AM
That seems very mean spirited. Cream or ice cream and fruit is what it should be served with.
Jelly is just boring.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 05:00PM
When my daughter was in a rest home hospital for palliative 'care', the main meal of the day was served at lunchtime. 'Teatime' was served between 4 & 5pm and consisted of a very very light meal, something like 1 slice of toast with a tablespoon of baked beans and maybe some jelly for dessert. On the 'chef's' day off, they were served leftovers from lunchtime. Once my daughter received a couple of tablespoons of mashed potato, sitting forlornly in the middle of the plate, with neither protein nor vegetable and not even any sauce or gravy to accompany it. Supper was between 7 & 8 pm and was a hot drink and two biscuits.

Fortunately, I was able to spend many hours at her bedside and was able to bring in fruit and extra 'treats' for our 'teatime', and she loved nothing more than to have a selection of cheeses with crackers, grapes and other tasty nibbles to keep her going till breakfast.

Needless to say, she was removed from that place and moved to somewhere where care meant exactly what it said.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 05:03PM
Rest home residents are worthy of better treatment than that IMHO! My Mother was an excellent cook and I would have felt quite sad if I'd found plain jelly with no extras being served to her.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 06:36PM
Reading what Lorna posted, I was wondering whether the main meal of the day was at lunch time. Even so, just jelly seems so "tight-fisted". Our senior citizens deserve so much better.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 07:53PM
Agree Noeleen, jelly on its own is a rather unappealing. My late mother (also a very good cook) was in a rest home for the last six months of her life and I would have to say that I was appalled at some of the meals she was served - they all seemed so 'grey' and unappetising. I remember her having stern words with the manager one day about the quality of the particular dessert that day. I used to take her some decent food which she looked forward to until her appetite started to fade - fresh salads with the 'cooked' salad dressing that she used to make were a particular favourite.

A couple of considerations - elderly folk in rest homes, particularly if they have health issues, have a myriad of dietary limitations, from things that don't agree with them, to things they can't swallow. I happen to think that these places cater to the lowest common denominator ie. serve up things that everyone can tolerate, like plain jelly - too bad if some people find them bland and boring.

Also remember that recently staff working in elder care were awarded a huge pay increase. The extra money has to come from somewhere - cutting costs is an obvious starting point. I wonder if catering budgets have taken a hit as a result?


Barbara Anne
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 08:00PM
this makes such sad reading. I hope that I will never have to go into one of those places as we would not have relatives near us to bring us food. That a terrible state of things when you are vulnerable.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 26, 2017 11:11PM
The care workers' pay increase is being paid for by an increase in subsidy by the government for funded residents, and private pay residents have had an increase in their fees. My mother is a private pay resident in a rest home and in June we got a letter informing us that in order to accommodate the wage increase, her care fees would increase by $410 per month from the beginning of July. I certainly don't have a problem with care workers being paid better wages, but that was an 8% increase which is pretty painful to the pocket.

I too have noticed the fairly low standard of food that my mother gets served. The menu changes monthly and is entirely new every 3 months. I get the impression they do try with the food, but the budgets are not big and I think Barbara Anne hits on some of the points when she talked about the difficulty of having to cater to a huge number of variables. My mother is young to be in such a place, at 72, but has a medical condition that means she can't live at home. Mum was taking French cooking classes in the early 60's , Italian in the early 70's, Indian and Chinese in the 80's, macrobiotic in the early 90's (lol) and has always had a love of good food. I know she doesn't like what she is served now, but she eats it because that's what there is.

I think she too has plain jelly for desert, I'll have to ask if they get any extras with it.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 02:40AM
Thank you for your replies. I just wanted to check that I was right in my thinking that jelly on its own was pretty poor
I have put in a complaint but haven't had a courtesy of a reply and just yesterday she again received jelly on its own.
The other day she got 5 apple slices from a tin with juice. Thats it. It should have been apple sponge.

Ploughmans meal was 5 crackers with 2 different cheese, small salad, pickles and 3 tomotoes. No meat. This was for their teatime meal. Tho the other night she got it again but it had 1/2 a bun and did include ham and luncheon.

Their midday meal tho is lovely, meat well cooked its just the evening meal that is the problem. The care in the home is wonderful and staff lovely. They have their meal at 5pm and supper is at 7pm. Residents have told Mum the evening meal has gone downhill.

Mum was a good cook and other residents are complaining but are coming to her with their complaints. Probably hoping that she will be their spokesperson.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 02:48AM
Totally agree Jelly on its own is a bit poor.

We all look forward to meals and Id say with more time on your hands the evening meal would be (hopefully) a pleasure and a nice time of the day. Mixing it up with cheap and cheerful BUT delicious old school deserts would be LOVELY. I hope you get something sorted for her.

Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 04:49AM
OK, so if they are being served dinner at 5pm then they are probably making stuff ahead during the day and then having junior (cheaper) staff or even nursing staff serving it up. Our hospital also does this, along with the main meal at midday idea. It really annoys me that it is near impossible to have a healthy meal in our hospital, working in maternity we have healthy/hungry women, who need more than a sandwich and some jelly at dinner time, and it is such a long time from 5pm dinner served to 8am breakfast. Although we do have some sandwiches dropped off which can be used for supper or for women who deliver during the night. Hospitals and rest homes need to prioritise healthy appetising food, that demonstrates a healthy diet. (Pretty much all our patients order in takeaways each night!)
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 05:58AM
Wow they order takaways most night, Im stunned. Is it that bad? Or are they making a bad choice?

The public system is pretty average in terms of tasty healthy food but found North Shore Hospital whilst in the Maternity ward really good considering its a hospital, I was never hungry and there was always toast/muffins available in the kitchen. A bit like a school camp back in the day.

Southern Cross was really good, Ha Ha I wanted to stay longer but when I saw the bill, no wonder - its certainly not cheap.

I totally agree with offering the healthy food though and healthy food doesnt have to be expensive especially when they buy in bulk.
Back to rest homes - good decent food is a MUST, it makes me sad thinking about our elders getting poor quality and bland food.

Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 07:00AM
Well they're only there for 1-5 nights, but yes the food is that bad. When I was hospitalised a few years back I opted to get a takeaway the second night, after I tried the meal, I couldn't eat anything the first night because I was too unwell. And seriously, a sandwich, soup (from a packet), and jelly with ice cream, is not enough for a healthy breastfeeding woman!
I have stayed at private hospitals and the food is much much much better.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 04:14PM
When Mum was in and out of Dunedin Public Hospital, three years ago, the food was just lovely - there was a menu with two or three choices for each of three courses for each meal (which you ordered a day ahead) and a choice of sizes of meal (large, small and petite as I recall). After she left there to go into the rest home, the hospital changed to an outside catering contractor for reasons of cost and the meals came pre-packaged and in many cases frozen, from Christchurch I think. Although I have no first hand experience of the new regime, I remember hearing and seeing a lot of complaints in the media when it was first introduced. However it stands to reason that catering 'from a distance' makes for more menu limitations and the potential for quality to be compromised than if the food was produced in the hospital's own kitchen.

As others have said, good nutrition is part of the healing process (and in the case of breastfeeding mothers, absolutely essential) and there are really no excuses for such lack-lustre food in our hospitals/rest homes. As we've often discussed on this forum, it is possible to make nutritious, tasty and interesting food from the most humble and inexpensive ingredients. Also, as I remember a chef saying once, given the same ingredients, it takes just as much time and effort to produce something ordinary as it does to ramp it up a notch and produce something a bit special.


Barbara Anne

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2017 04:17PM by Barbara Anne.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 04:34PM
Perhaps this is an opening for a new kind of cookbook to be created by the nation's good cooks.

If the cooks in rest homes and hospitals (and schools) lack the initiative, pay incentive, managerial direction and budget, etc, to create better meals, then other people need to put the effort in and show them the way forward.

Cookbook manuals that show how food in rest homes and hospitals (and schools) can be quick to prepare, cheap, healthy, nourishing and appetising are needed. Awhile back, I converted several of my meat-based recipes to meatless and did a cost comparison, e.g. a meatloaf went from costing $2.40 per adult for the meat version, to $1.07 per adult for the just as delicious and healthy lentil version.

So, a call out to the nation's cooks.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2017 04:34PM by J1.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 27, 2017 10:18PM
Both my late Dad & FIL were resident in a rest-home prior to their deaths & in his later days my FIL's dentures were lost. A long story which I wont detail but my DH held the facility accountable & new dentures were arranged & fitted.
In the meantime though with no teeth ( through no fault of his own) dear FIL was meant to be served soft(er) foods.
No - far too easy, lets just give him what all the others have .. so frequently we would find him sucking on meat or toast because he couldnt chew, but was hungry. Many of the staff that we spoke to there would be quickly apologetic & remedy it with offering something else, but a few days later we would call in to see similar. (we visited often, but tried to pop in sometimes at meal times)
The meals there looked tasty & I think for these dementia patients they were plain food that they were usually familiar with & liked, like roasts, fruit sponge desserts, prorridge, toast etc but the common sense of some staff who couldnt/didnt think of the chewing abilities of some residents made the mind boggle.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 28, 2017 09:17AM
So sad about the jelly - I feel so sorry for anyone at the mercy of institutional cooking.

With regard to hospitals, my best friend was in Greenlane a couple of weeks ago for emergency surgery and I was shocked at the junk she was served. It was just an endless parade of refined carbs - toast and cornflakes for breakfast, stodgy sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner... How ironic given what an effect they have on your health. I was amazed that she managed to eat it but she reminded me that she'd been to boarding school! I took her some decent stuff as well.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 29, 2017 02:16AM
Stodgy carbs are cheap. DHBs have to cut costs, as they are so sadly underfunded, food is (like anyone on a budget will testify) the one place that the budget can be reduced.
Re: Jelly for dessert
September 30, 2017 11:56PM
I concur with the comments. Mother in law was in a resthome a few years ago. Could'nt chew after a stroke. Lunch was mashed potato and packet gravy and a yoghurt for pudding. Tea was mashed potato and packet gravy!!
Re: Jelly for dessert
October 28, 2017 09:39PM
I mentioned above that the nation's cooks need to help out with showing rest homes, hospitals, etc, the way forward in creating healthy, excellent food on a budget.

My local newspaper today has a piece saying "Leading retirement village company Metlifecare is partnering with high profile chef Simon Gault to enhance its food experience for residents, and will work with kitchen teams across its villages nationwide. Gault will introduce his take on popular classic dishes incorporating fresh ingredients and seasonal produce. Metlifecare and Gault aim to increase customer satisfaction through an increased focus on food quality."

Now that's a good start. Hopefully others will follow very soon.
Re: Jelly for dessert
October 28, 2017 11:08PM
I remember thinking at the time of your comment, J1 that it would be nice if a high profile chef got involved so a wise move by Metilifcare. We can only hope that 'working with kitchen teams across its villages nationwide' serves to achieve the stated goals and that others follow suit.


Barbara Anne
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