Cooking for Ageing Taste Buds

Joined Jan 5, 2001
My grandfather is 94 years old. He can no longer eat meat as it is too tough for his old teeth. Vegetables have to be extra soft. Worst of all, this formerly avid gourmet/gourmand finds everything tasteless and he drowns everything in a pound of salt. He sorely misses the cuisine of his homeland (Belgium), though his taste memories, I'm sure, are somewhat distorted by time.

This man has been my biggest friend in the world and I ache to see him losing the comfort and pleasure that food used to provide him with.

I'm going out of town to visit him next week and would like to bring him frozen individual-sized portions of soup or other soft foods that he would enjoy.

If any of you have experience in feeding the elderly, I would love to hear from you. I'm looking for VERY flavourful (not necessarily spicy/hot) soup recipes and whatever else you can think of.

Thanks in advance!
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Anneke, that must break your heart. Can you coax him to eat purees with the assurance the flavors he misses will be there? Can he handle the foods if you make them in pate form?

For example, I was thinking of Carbonnades a la Flammande. If you cooked that very tender, then blended the ingredients and made a pate form out of it, could he eat that? The flavors would be there, and it might be less upsetting than seeing just the puree.

I know Cape Chef will do better here, as he is now specializing in food for his elderly residents.

I did find these links. Maybe they'll inspire you:
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Thank you Mezz for the advice and the links.

My grandfather probably wouldn't accept the idea of puréing his food. He'll blend chunky soups provided by the home, but that's as far as he'll go. I think it's a line he just doesn't want to cross; it keeps him 'among the living' so to speak.... He's very lucid for a man his age, and thank God we don't have to worry about Alzheimers and it's horrible consequences. He doesn't have a problem with choking, as described in some of those links you posted; it really is just his teeth that are a problem.

You mentioned Carbonnades en pâté. Funny thing: for 40 years he's been trying to replicate his mother's pâté to no avail. I make a pretty good one, but I too have given up. It's never quite right to him!

I spent my evening making basic soups, packed with flavour: summer pea and basil purée, spiced maple butternut squash, and classic onion soup. Tonight I'll make a Parmentier, and nice mushroom soup with dried porcini and it's soaking liquid. These are all straight forward soups with - hopefully - strong, easily discernable flavours. I'll pack them in ziplocks and freeze them for next week. I hope it'll help him eat a little more...
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