The Joy of Cooking: Culinary Skills Every Senior Should Try


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In a world dominated by fast foods and eating out, cooking at home is a wonderful way for seniors to enjoy a healthy aging journey ahead.

Getting creative in the kitchen and following new recipes have proven beneficial for many life aspects of seniors. It helps seniors stick to a healthy diet, control their nutrition intake, encourage their social connections, and improve their appetite, among other things.

However, cooking is no easy feat, which explains why many seniors would rather eat out or order deliveries. In today’s blog, we will introduce a list of 6 culinary skills every senior should try to make the most of their cooking experience at home.


Discover 6 Culinary Skills To Help Seniors Master Home Cooking

Top 6 Culinary Skills Every Senior Should Try

Cook Food The Right Way


As nutrition has a vital role in the aging journey, seniors are encouraged to consume adequate nutrition to keep up with significant changes in their health.

Studies suggest an ideal diet for seniors should include more nutrition and fewer calories. However, a significant number of seniors suffer from nutrient deficiencies while they reduce their calorie intake.

Taking supplements is one option that comes to the minds of many to compensate for lost nutrients. Still, it may not apply to all seniors due to health concerns and prescriptions.

That’s why cooking food the right way can impact the preservation of beneficial nutrients. Overcooking food can kill nutritional values in the process.

Some healthy cooking methods seniors should try to retain nutrition in foods include:

  • Steaming is a cooking method that uses steam evaporating from boiling water to cook food. This traditional method is best for preserving food nutrition, color, and texture, especially water-soluble vitamins. It is a versatile cooking method but works best for vegetables and delicate greens.
  • Roasting exposes food to dry heat (open flame) of at least 300 °F to cook food evenly on both sides. While there are some downsides to roasting, it can’t be denied that the cooking technique helps food taste better and retain its nutritional value. It works best for all types of meat, such as whole chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, and pork.
  • More than an occasion for gathering friends and family, grilling is one of the greatest ways to prepare healthy meals. While grilling foods, excess fat drips through the rack while beneficial nutrients and moisture are preserved.
  • Much like roasting, baking also exposes food to dry heat. The only difference is the food will be placed in an oven with baking. Baking is more versatile than roasting as it can cook various foods, from meat to vegetables and desserts (bread, cookies, muffins, pastries).


Master Basic Knife Skills

Basic knife skills are valuable assets for seniors to maintain their independence. Sharp knives with proper grip and correct hand positioning can make chopping, slicing, and dicing more accessible, taking seniors’ cooking experience to the next level.

However, it should depend on each senior’s preferences and health issues. For example, arthritis and stiff joints may prevent seniors from using the knife safely, so it is best to switch to safer cutting appliances, such as scissors and vegetable choppers.


Learn To Use Kitchen Appliances & Gadgets


Cooking in retirement years can become more of a challenge for seniors. In recent years, meal preparation has been more accessible than ever, thanks to a variety of kitchen equipment available on the market.

Convenient senior-friendly tools and gadgets let seniors enjoy the ultimate joy of cooking. They also help seniors save time and cost and promote their safety in the kitchen, especially if they live alone or have limited mobility.

For example, air fryers are a new kitchen invention that has revolutionized the cooking experience worldwide. The appliance is a cross between frying and baking. It allows people to cook using less oil, hence healthier meals.

Other kitchen appliances that will make your seniors love cooking even more include a microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, jar openers, blenders, and vegetable choppers.


Make Stocks, Sauces, and Gravies

Stocks, sauces, and gravies are a staple part of many dishes.

While stocks are the foundation for a hot soup pot, shiny sauces and silky gravies make chicken wings and grilled lamb taste even better. They give the dishes lovely colors, maximize the depth of flavor, and balance all the components of the dishes.

The best part about mastering such culinary skills is you can season them following your taste preferences. Be sure to help your seniors purchase stockpots, strainers, saucepans, and ladles, show them how to prepare fresh produce, and demonstrate how to roast, blanch, and saute ingredients afterward.


Herbs & Spices Pairing


Did you know combining herbs and spices can make the dishes explode in flavor?

Herbs and spices are long known for their exceptional flavors. That’s why exploring the options and knowing what goes with what food can help your seniors cook delicious meals and make their mealtime more enjoyable.

Moreover, consuming certain herbs and spices may improve overall health and prevent illnesses. For example, antioxidant-rich herbs like cinnamon, sage, oregano, and thyme may help reduce bad cholesterol. Garlic, chives, leeks, and onions may be protective against cancer.

Traditional Herb Combinations:

  • Basil – with chives, chili, garlic, oregano.
  • Garlic – with basil, rosemary, sage, fennel, chili, coriander.
  • Oregano – with basil, parsley, chives, thyme, bay, chili.
  • Sage – with rosemary, garlic, marjoram.
  • Thyme – with bay, parsley, garlic, rosemary.
  • Bay – with parsley, thyme, garlic, oregano, marjoram.
  • Chili – with coriander, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint, oregano.
  • Chives – with basil, garlic, tarragon.
  • Dill – with chives, garlic, parsley, tarragon.


Good Food and Herb Combinations:

  • Chili – meat, chicken and poultry, shellfish, tomato dishes, curries.
  • Basil – pesto, Italian dishes, tomato sauce, tomato soup, tomato juice, potato dishes, prawns, meat, chicken and poultry.
  • Coriander – Asian dishes, stir-fries, curries, soups, salads, seafood, guacamole.
  • Garlic – Mediterranean dishes, soups, sauces, pasta, meat, chicken, shellfish, pesto, salad dressings, bread.
  • Ginger – cakes, biscuits, Asian dishes.
  • Lemongrass – Asian dishes, stir-fries, curries, seafood, soups, tea.


Meal Planning

Planning meals in advance is a culinary skill that every senior should try and make a part of their weekly routine. Deciding what to eat daily can be a hard task for seniors, especially when venturing out for groceries is no longer as simple as it once was.

In addition to taking out the guesswork, meal planning is a fantastic way to help seniors save time and money while meeting their nutrition goals. By sketching out a week’s worth of meals, seniors can find the best-suited meal plans and have greater control over their portions and dietary restrictions. Check here for easy meal-planning ideas for seniors.


If you have questions about senior culinary skills or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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