My patient wouldn’t eat. His frail body was shrinking more by the day, his trays of hospital food untouched. As his nurse, I had to break the news to his wife.
She walked in carrying a casserole dish: his grandmother’s recipe. He perked up at the familiar aroma of sauerkraut, taking his first bites in days. She beamed with pride.
Deeply moved, I began collecting family heirloom recipes that have comforted an ailing loved one in the hospital, a nursing home, a hospice facility, or even at home to compile into a heartwarming cookbook.
As a hospital nurse, I have repeatedly witnessed the unique power of these foods to bring nourishment and cheer to seriously ill patients. It may be the chili that evokes a long-ago family garden, the date pudding that always lit up Christmas, or the Hungarian doughnuts pulled from bubbling oil with a young granddaughter who, decades later, turns to the sweet morsels to perk up her ailing grandmother.
When these favorites arrive, I often watch relatives crowd tightly around the patient’s bed, forming a cocoon, feeding the patient a spoonful or two. For a few minutes, the hospital bed transforms into a place of food and family, recreating happier times.
I continue to seek recipes and your own family story to be included in this very special cookbook "My Loving Spoonful". Please submit the recipe name and story for consideration.