Maggie Beer launches dementia care cook book

'Life-changing' was how Maggie Beer described her involvement with moves to improve food in aged care which has led to the launch yesterday of HammondCare Media's new cookbook, Don't give me eggs that bounce. 

'Life-changing' was how Maggie Beer described her involvement with moves to improve food in aged care which has led to the launch yesterday of HammondCare Media's new cookbook, Don't give me eggs that bounce.

Ms Beer, Australia's favourite food identity, described at the launch (scroll down for video) how she spoke to executives of Australian aged care as Senior Australian of the Year in 2010 and detected 'anger' in the room when she discussed the bad, and the good, of food in aged care at that time.

This address led to meetings with HammondCare Chief Executive Dr Stephen Judd, who was on his own campaign to see better food service and choice for older Australians. Maggie's advice was to find a restaurant chef with a passion for food and people.

The result was the appointment of Peter Morgan-Jones as HammondCare's executive chef and food ambassador - bringing to aged and dementia care his diverse experience ranging from cooking for the royal family and being head chef of some of Australia's best known restaurants.

Don't give me eggs that bounce: 118 cracking recipes for people with Alzheimer's is his first cookbook, co-authored with dietitian Emily Colombage, dementia consultant Danielle McIntosh and speech pathologist Prudence Ellis.

Ms Beer, speaking at the Sydney Hilton launch, said what had followed Peter's appointment had changed her life as she benefited from his experience and continued learning from working with residents, families and staff in aged care. She has now established the Maggie Beer Foundation to continue the work of improving aged care food delivery. 

maggie beer with dementia cookbook authors v2

Celebrity chefs mix with dementia care workers

The book launch was held during Risky Business 2 international dementia conference and provided the unusual scene of well-known celebrity chefs such as Maggie Beer, Janni Kyritsis and Lauren Murdoch mingling with front-line aged care workers who were delegates of the conference.

It is an indication of the support coming from the ranks of Australia's leading chefs for Peter's work and this was further highlighted when he headlined at Tasting Australia in Adelaide in late April.

Publicity around the book has given Peter Morgan-Jones the opportunity to raise the issue of better food for older people, with coverage from the Australian Women's Weekly, Sunrise on Channel 7, The Australian and ABC Radio across Australia.

And at the grassroots level, Don't give me eggs that bounce is already finding its way into the hands of carers and people living with dementia to support them through cooking and mealtime innovation specifically created for their needs and enjoyment.

118 recipes, priceless innovation and video learning

Don't give me eggs that bounce features six chapters covering the main food and nutrition issues faced by older people, people with dementia, people with swallowing difficulties, carers and families.

Tips on managing mealtimes for someone with dementia, avoiding malnutrition for older people and safe eating with conditions such as dysphagia are all to be found the book as well Peter's innovation in preparing and presenting texture-modified meals and thickened fluids.

The '118 recipes' cover meals for 'regular' diets which will be enjoyed by people of all ages and health conditions. And many focus on specific diet recommendations including soft, minced and moist and smooth pureed.

A series of videos is being released through YouTube to highlight some of the cookbooks recipes and techniques. (Launch video below)