Staying ahead of the food fixations

God help us if his tastes change overnight.

Grocery shopping gets to be a challenge if you’re a caregiver, even if it’s simple. You may find your care recipient gets strange tastes sometimes, and it’s difficult to keep up with them.

Like Dad. His diet is fairly simple, yet it’s an abominable one. Prepackaged frozen rations every night. No variation; he has three that he chooses from. All Italian, all heavy on the pasta, all relatively tasteless.

Doesn’t bother me any, but I’m not eating those. See, I’m a fairly decent cook. All kinds of great Southern meals: Ham hocks with butter beans and cornbread, and fried catfish with hush puppies. Some Mexican, homemade Texas chili with tortillas made by hand. Also my world-famous spaghetti. But these represent sea changes he’s not ready for, so I’ll have several things going in the kitchen. His microwaved meals, and whatever it is I’m eating.

But he gets on these food fixations, and they occasionally change. On top of that, he’s heavily into bulk buying. Keep that freezer full, a whole bunch of everything, rotate the new ones in behind the old ones. Just like he did when he owned a store.

So you can guess the rest, right?

Anybody want some rice bowls?
We still have two cases of teriyaki rice bowls in the big outdoor freezer. They were one of his staples until about a year ago, at least once or twice a week. Then he decided he was tired of them.

I can understand that.

So there they sit. I’ve eaten one or two of them and it takes a ton of pepper and other spices to make them edible. Fortunately, they freeze well and they’re so shot full of preservatives they’ll outlast the family’s seventh generation.

Bananas were another food kick for a while. I started picking up about a dozen per week, knowing he’ll eat most of them. That’s okay, I like them too. But then he stopped, I was getting full of bananas, and what was left started turning funny colors. Dad’s so resistant to the idea of wasting food that I kept them in the kitchen until they turned liquid inside the peel.

For a long time, cashews were the thing. He kept jars and jars of them, and he saved the empties. When I took over this caregiving thing, I noticed the stacks and stacks of empty cashew jars in the garage. He knew he had uses for every one of them. You wouldn’t believe the negotiation I had to do just to get rid of them. (Footnote: I use some of the jars now as canisters: Rice, cornmeal, masa flour, regular flour, and grits. Now I’m running out of them.)

There’s always Moose Tracks.
You guessed it. He stopped eating cashews, so now we have several full jars.

We still have several large cans of instant cappuccino, which I won’t drink. Feeling queasy just writing about the stuff. Yep, he stopped drinking that too.

Now he has a glass of milk with breakfast and a glass with lunch. That’s fairly recent, so I have to watch and anticipate any changes in his tastes. At some point he’ll get tired of the milk.

I guess that’s a dementia thing, and maybe part of aging in general. I understand the part about the taste buds losing their touch. About the last thing that remains is the taste for sweet stuff.

His taste for Denali Moose Tracks ice cream will probably never die. Unless it does, but I’ll make sure that doesn’t go to waste.