Cincinnati’s International Dining Program allows to travel despite the pandemic!

In Cincinnati, Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly offered the elderly to travel around the world through gastronomy. In the context of the pandemic, their “International Dinners” program, with special menu delivered at home, were very much appreciated by the isolated older adults they support.

Yogi Wess, executive director at Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Cincinnati, explains:

” Food has connected people forever. In all countries, families, and individuals interact with food.  Food has always been a very important part of Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly culture – after all we are originally a French organization and who knows food better than the French!  We can’t dismiss what a meal may mean to a person, especially a person who hasn’t seen anyone for long stretches during the pandemic.

Throughout the last year, we have thought of different ways to maintain contact with our elderly friends – the delivery of “Thinking of You” Bags, “Sunshine Boxes”, “Soup Sundays” and our International Dining Program.

It all started in August, when we decided to let our elders pick two Saturdays they wanted us to bring them an International Dinner. We offered Mexican, Greek, Italian, Chinese and German. We were happy many left their comfort zones to try Greek, Mexican and Chinese.

A longtime volunteer, Mary Seguin, who is a trained chef, helped the organization with the menu for each country. Mary is not one to choose easy and popular meals to make. She chose interesting dishes with many flourishes to make the dishes fancy. The bags that accompanied the meals were also special with items such as small bottles of wine and beer, magnets representing the country of the week, homemade cookies with appropriate icing designs, etc. An example of one meal are the German dishes of German pot roast, Spaetzle, Red Cabbage with spices, Soft Pretzel with Dusseldorf mustard, and Cherry Strudel.

This month, we featured Poland and France which has received rave reviews from the elderly friends. For the Polish Dinner, we served – Golaski, Kielbase, Pierogi, Pickled Beets and for dessert – Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolacky – delicious!

The French dinner was superb – Mary dazzled everyone with the presentation of the dinner, attention to detail and deliciousness of everything that was made. The dinner included a cheese plate with three French cheeses, cornichon and grapes, a Vichyssoise soup, Coq Au Vin, Haricots Verts with Dijon Vinaigrette, Radishes with butter and French Salt, French bread, an Éclair for dessert and a bottle of Red Wine.

The program was largely inspired by the countries of the International Federation’s members and partners. Through each one, the association finds the inspiration to to love and reach out with food!”


Photo credit: Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly Cincinnati


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