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Feb 15, 2010 06:12 PM

Basic and Bland for Grandma

My Grandma has been in the hospital for the last few weeks and the doctor has asked us to consider hospice. We want to make sure her final meals (though she doesn't eat very much) are
worth savoring.

She's on a bland, soft food diet and seems to have a hankering for brisket, meatloaf, pot roast pork loin and mashed potatoes.

The hospital is not doing any of these foods particularly well and so I would love to know if anyone has any recipes they could suggest for the above.

That said, my Grandma has terrible acid issues and can no longer eat anything with pepper, salt, spice (other than perhaps thyme) and tomatoes. She is also allergic to milk.

This makes feeding her terribly, terribly tough. Is there a way to make the meats above palatable and tender without catsup, braising, wine, all the things I typically do to tenderize and flavor meat?

I would be so grateful for advice.


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  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your must be very difficult for your family during this time. You are doing a wonderful thing for her. You can make things like brisket, pot roast and pork loin tender without the wine and acid producing products like tomatoes by searing them in a dry non stick skillet or with a little oil in a regular skillet and cooking them in a slow cooker or pressure cooker to make them tender.

    If she can have no salt seasoning, I'd use that to give it some flavor (Mrs. Dash has about 10 varieties, read the labels to make sure they don't contain things you don't want your grandmother to have). Meatloaf is a pretty easy one; you can make it without the ketchup or tomatoes..I suggest pureeing cooked carrots and add that with an egg to bind the meat. You can also use this puree as a glaze with maybe a little brown sugar, maple syrup or corn syrup. If you can't use regular milk, you may be able to substitute soy or coconut milk in your mashed potatoes if that can be tolerated. God Bless!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      Thank you, Cheryl. I'm thinking of starting with a meatloaf tomorrow with crackers, egg and maybe a little thyme. My Grandma is a tough customer so my fingers are crossed.

      1. re: jessierandall

        As long as your Grandmother still knows what she likes and don't like, that's a good thing. Good luck with the meatloaf.

    2. I fixed this just the other day for my elderly MIL and she loved it

      I served it with egg noodles and pureed butternut squash with butter and cream (also from Julia Child).

      I'll think back to other things I've fixed for her and post. Good luck. You're a good g-daugher.

      1. You can take this technique and eliminate all the spices and it will still be great.

        1. I went through this recently with my mother. I made LOTS of mashed potatoes. And she loved them. Unfortunately, short of putting it in a blender, meat loaf, brisket, pot roast, and pork loin just aren’t what the dieticians consider soft foods. If the doctor is recommending hospice, I would suggest that you prepare what makes your grandmother happy without making her uncomfortable. Make a pot roast or a brisket (both, I think, easier to digest than a pork loin), with minimal spices, cook it ‘til it’s falling apart tender, and serve her a very small amount of meat with plenty of sauce and mashed potatoes. At that stage my mother was eating very tiny amounts and I think her taste memory was triggered by the thought of the foods she knew she used to love as much as it was by the flavor of the food itself. In the end, I relied on what she told me it was that she wanted more than on what the doctors and dieticians thought she ought to have and it made her happy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JoanN

            Perfectly said. I think MIL's caregiver is trying to make her healthy rather than having her eat. She lost 5# in a month. We've solved that problem. My MIL doesn't like pasta so we do rice and potatoes. She also likes the (fully fatted) Greek yogurt. With some honey and fruit on top we're getting more fat and calories into her. It's all about fuel at this point in their lives.