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‘Food, Flavours and Friendships – nourishment for a good life’

15 June, 2021

Maggie recently shared her passion for good food and aim to improve the standard of food served in aged care homes, at the ‘Food, Flavours and Friendships – nourishment for a good life’ event at Salisbury’s Jack Young Centre in May.

The food icon was the special guest at the Council of the Ageing (COTA) SA Conversations with Salisbury Seniors event, alongside Professor John Coveney from Flinders University and COTA SA Chief Executive Jane Mussared.

The event encouraged participants to rediscover the benefits of cooking and become more conscious about the food they consume, while promoting the joy and health benefits of sharing food with family and friends.

Maggie, who was named Senior Australian of the Year in 2010, urged the audience to surround themselves with fresh seasonal vegetables and fragrant herbs to stimulate senses and motivation to get back into the kitchen.

“Smells in the kitchen help to make you hungry,” she told the audience of 80 people.

“I love to cook simple food featuring vegetables that are in season…if your senses are evoked it will inspire you to cook.”

In 2014, Maggie turned her culinary prowess to the considerable task of dishing up better food for the elderly in aged care facilities, to improve the wellbeing of residents.

She says the Maggie Beer Foundation aimed to challenge the aged care industry to raise standards and create a food culture where its chefs were proud of the food they cook.

“Food can change the world, for pleasure and for your health, they go side by side,’ she says.

“Always, but never more when we are older.”

Flinders University Professor of Global Food, Culture and Health, John Coveney, spoke of his research which found eating together could be a powerful antidote to feeling lonely.

“Up to third of older Australian will experience loneliness at some time…which can carry the same risk factor as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” he said.

“People who eat with others are more likely to feel better about themselves and more likely to feel better about others.”

COTA SA’s Jane Mussared urged older people to pay attention to how and what they were eating, as it was a strong contributor to quality of life.

“I’ve been tracking ageing for a really long time, and one of the things, apart from continuing to keep moving and physical exercise, the other big thing is to eat well and to focus on our food,’ she said.

“It is a different focus from when we were kids and as we are adults, our bodies have different needs, and it is fair to say as a community we have paid little attention to it.”

COTA SA and the City of Salisbury have hosted these events since 2015, to connect with the region’s older population and to better understand the issues affecting them. The events also enable Council to gather information and shape policy and services affecting the aged community.

The next event will be held in October.

Contact COTA SA and see how they can assist you to age well, by visiting www.cotasa.org.au, phone 08 8232 0422 or email: cotasa@cotasa.org.au

Maggie Food Tips for Older People:

  • Grow herbs as it will inspire you to get in the kitchen
  • Cook soups full of beans, legumes, vegetables and herbs
  • Slow cookers are ideal to create healthy meals full of flavour and nutrition
  • Keep it simple – you don’t need to try to do anything fancy