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Magnolia Manor Blog

Southern Cuisine for Senior Living Residents

Posted by Magnolia Manor on
June 16, 2021

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Surely, you’re not one of those people who thinks senior living communities have lousy food! If so, you haven’t had a meal at Magnolia Manor! Long gone are the days when bland was the order of the day.

This is the South, and we’re all about Southern cuisine. That’s what our residents want, and our mission is to serve our seniors in every way – body and soul.

So fire up your taste buds, and let’s see what’s cooking. Derinda Harris, Dietary Manager at Magnolia Manor in Macon, is our guide.

senior living dining roomOur Dining Rooms

Independent living residents at Macon come together for a meal at midday. There are usually about 115 independent living residents, so Derinda and her staff work out of a big kitchen. On the assisted living side, there are fewer residents to feed and they can choose to eat in the dining room or have room service. So even though they get breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the assisted living kitchen is smaller.

For efficiency’s sake, Derinda usually plans the same lunch menu for both groups. However, since there are fewer mouths to feed in assisted living, she sometimes plans menus around what’s in the freezer, to make sure nothing stays in there too long.

southern cooking in senior livingOur Menus

Tuck in your bib and grab a napkin, because we’re talking mouth-watering options. Today’s lunch menu for both independent and assisted living offers choices including:

  • Barbequed chicken
  • Philly steak sandwiches
  • Field peas
  • Snap peas
  • French fries
  • Potato salad

Wait. Philly steak? That’s not Southern cuisine. Derinda admits as much but says she likes to try out new things to keep meals interesting for residents. If they love it, it stays. If not, it’s off the menu. Philly steak sandwiches were an instant hit.

Other lunch and dinner favorites in Macon?

  • Mac and cheese
  • Fried chicken
  • Meatloaf
  • Corn nuggets
  • Collards
  • Fried pork chops with cabbage

Derinda takes requests, too. For example, although she’s not a fan of liver she does prepare it because residents do like it, and they asked for it. “If my residents are happy, I’m good with it!”

southern cooking senior livingLucky Assisted Living Residents Get Breakfast

You’d get up early, too, if you could feast on the scrumptious array of goodies available for breakfast. (No, not everything is available every day):

  • Grits (regular or cheese)
  • Oatmeal
  • Cold cereal
  • Biscuits and gravy
  • Toast (plain or raisin)
  • Hash browns
  • Danish
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Salmon croquettes
  • Eggs over easy (by request)

Since the independent living residents are only served lunch, once a month Derinda changes things up by serving brunch at 10am on a Friday instead.

  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Salmon croquettes
  • Eggs
  • Hash browns

southern cooking senior livingService with a Smile . . . and a Chat with the Chef

Normally, we offer plated meal service in our dining rooms, where each resident makes their choices from the day’s menu just like in any other restaurant. However, during the pandemic we’ve been doing a buffet to make distancing easier. Derinda sometimes serves the line herself so she can chat with the residents.

To promote healthy eating, she encourages everyone to load up on veggies, as many as they like. She also encourages residents to load up their plates – they can eat half now and take away the other half to eat later. If there is leftover food after everyone has been served, seconds are always available.

southern cooking senior livingWhy is the food so good at Magnolia Manor?

It’s more than the tasty Southern cuisine. “I cook with passion,” says Derinda. “I don’t serve anything I wouldn’t put in my own mouth.” So, has Derinda ever served up a mistake?

Well, one time she was away and someone else made the chicken and dumplings. When she returned, her voicemail box was filled with complaints. It seems there was a distinct lack of chicken and the “dumplings” were more like big pieces of bread. One resident said, “Baby, you do a wonderful job, but if you don’t know how to make proper chicken and dumplings, we old people will show you!”

Take a tour and have a taste for yourself

When you visit any of our nine campuses for a guided tour, you also get a chance to try our tasty food – for free. That’s right. Enjoy a southern home-cooked meal on us and taste for yourself how delicious and nutritious our food is. (Note: due to COVID, some campuses might not offer a meal with a tour at this time). Find out more by contacting us online or giving us a call at (855) 540-LIFE.

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Topics: Independent Living, FAQs, Residents, Assisted Living