The tastes of home
One food item I miss from my pre-nursing home days is sandwiches made on toasted bread. I got used to eating sandwiches on toast when I lived on my own. In order to keep whole-wheat bread fresh, it was kept in the fridge. To warm and freshen it for a sandwich, it was crisped in a toaster oven.
I think toast adds a special spark to a sandwich. For example, one hot sandwich I like is a cheese toasty made with mozzarella, pesto and a tomato slice grilled on two slices of bread. It is like a panini without grill marks—and yummy.
At my previous nursing home, there were no sandwiches on toast. Many of the aides felt the same way I did about toast. Some of them were willing to pop my already made toast in that break room toaster each morning before they spread peanut butter on it. Dietary or one of the aides made me toast for sandwiches or when I was sick. When the break room toaster broke, I bought them a dollar store toaster replacement. I wanted the aides to have toast, and I wanted it also.
I consider toast to be a comfort food. Growing up, when I was sick, my mother would make me a soft boiled egg and break up one half of a buttered piece of toast into it. Then, she added a bit more butter. She mixed it all together into a wonderful concoction. It was so special.
Recently when a BLT was on the menu, it brought back memories of many Augusts full of sandwiches made with beefsteak tomatoes fresh from the garden. I had that taste in my mouth heading to the dining room. Then, I saw some of the residents getting grilled cheese sandwiches, which I learned was the backup offering.
My BLT arrived on plain white bread. My aide put the sandwich together and though it tasted like a BLT, there was no crunch. White bread always sticks to my teeth or the roof of my mouth. It can get stuck so tightly to the roof of my mouth that I cannot loosen it unless I drink a lot of water. A new aide said putting mayonnaise on the top slice of the bread causes it to get mushy and, therefore, stick. She turned my sandwich so the mayonnaise slice was down, the bread no longer got stuck.
While I have gotten used to eating sandwiches on white bread, I hope someday nursing homes will have a toaster oven so residents can request and enjoy sandwiches on toast.
Kathleen Mears is a long-time blogger who has been a nursing home resident for 21 years. She is an incomplete quadriplegic and uses a power wheelchair to get around. Her computer is her “window on the world.” This blog shares her thoughts and view of life as a nursing home resident as well as ideas of how it might be improved in the future.