Friday, May 23, 2014

Did You Have Squash for Dinner?

Beloved works hard to make sure we have a plan for meals in our house. I am so thankful for all her hard work and creativity in that regard. Unfortunately, five nights a week I am at work, in a home for ten individuals who score a little lower on an IQ test than you or I do. Since we are so regulated, the wonderful State of New York insists that we have a Registered Dietitian (RD), who plans out the meals in this house, and that is a good thing, most of the time.

She makes sure peoples diets are well-balanced with the right amount of nutrients. She makes sure everyone is getting the right amount of calories, for some people need to lose weight, and some need to gain. She also adjusts the recipes so that we can cook tasty hot meals that can feed 20 people.

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to having a well regulated menu and a Registered Dietitian to enforce it. The RD at work comes along once a month to observe a meal. She wants to make sure that the food is prepared right, cut in the right size pieces - for those who have trouble chewing and the right quantities are served.

And that is where the problems begin: at those meal observations.

She is a very precise woman and once scolded a staff person for serving too much spaghetti. “A serving of spaghetti is 23 strings, 23 pieces of spaghetti; I think there are too many on that plate.”

I not only like to eat, but I am of Italian descent. I do not count strings of spaghetti, I mound it on the plate until it looks like enough. Therefore, I was thankful I was not the person who served too much pasta, and I was not asked to count out 23 strings. Additionally, If I had counted them, once I got past ten strings, I would have had to take off my shoes and socks. I am sure that really would have riled our dear RD.

She was once doing a training at a staff meeting on the proper size to cut food, as well as the proper consistencies, to reduce choking hazards. Not only did she talk, but we had to demonstrate that we understood what she was saying.

When it was my turn, she placed a few large cubes of cooked sweet potatoes on the cutting board in front of me. You know the oh-so-soft, melt-in-your-mouth, exploding with sweet-goodness orange potatoes? Well, that is what she gave me to cube into the proper size. I looked at her like she was nuts. She looked at me like she really expected me to cube these things into 1/4 inch pieces.

So I shrugged, took the large French chef knife, you know the one they always use in horror movies, and with the flat of the blade, squashed the potatoes flat.

Now it was her turn to look at me like I was nuts, “I’ve never seen it done quite like that.” I don’t think she appreciated that I turned her sweet potatoes into squash.

I think I must have passed the training, since they still let me cook and handle sharp knives.

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