Joslyn makes mornings informative

Visitors of Claremont’s Joslyn Senior Center are becoming particularly productive with their morning cup of coffee, and it’s not because of an extra jolt of caffeine.

Program coordinators at the popular senior center have repurposed normal coffee table chatter with the recent introduction of Coffee Talk, a free lecture series presenting topics of importance to seniors and their families. The program kicked off with a healthy cooking demonstration and Q&A last Tuesday.

“The purpose is continued education,” said Shannon Glaudi, senior recreation leader at the Joslyn Center. “We are always looking for new ways to engage our seniors.”

The interactive morning lecture series is not a foreign concept to Joslyn regulars. In fact, it’s quite familiar as it’s based off of the center’s longstanding “hot topic” series. After attendance at the hot topic  presentations began to dwindle, Ms. Glaudi began seeking ways to revamp the program.

Renaming the series and moving its location to the most popular room at the Joslyn—the Oak Room dining hall—proved pivotal. Tuesday’s audience included about 15 participants, a much bigger turnout than the select few attendants that would show up for the previous program, according to Ms. Glaudi.

Beyond the success of relocating the lecture series, the recreation leader credits the distinct new line-up of programs as enticing a broader audience. Upcoming Coffee Talk classes range from cooking demonstrations to self defense to a course on human sexuality and aging, the later to be held in a more intimate setting than the dining hall. Tuesday’s healthy summer cooking class was one of Ms. Glaudi’s proud contributions.

“Our seniors enjoy eating and I wanted them to learn simple and easy alternatives for summer meals,” Ms. Glaudi said. “Many of them are only cooking for one, and that can be tricky.

“Besides,” she continued. “It’s so hot here in the summer time, who wants to cook on the stove?”

Ms. Glaudi called on Sandee Hayden of the Visiting Nurses Association to think up some creative ways to get cooking sans heat. To help her get started, Ms. Hayden came equipped with a bundle of seasonal fruits and vegetables—watermelon, strawberries and grapes among the pickings—to serve as the base of her dishes.

“There are so many different fresh seasonal options here in southern California,” Ms. Hayden shared. “We are fortunate to live in an area where strawberries are so abundant.”

Sprouts, Super King, Trader Joe’s and the Sunday farmers market offer fresh produce at reasonable prices, Ms. Hayden related. She noted that she often takes advantage of Sprouts’ Double Ad Wednesday to stock up on all the produce specials.

Price aside, Ms. Hayden offered several ways to stretch out the savings and make use of every bit of fruit possible, particularly when it comes to summer favorites like watermelon. Instead of throwing away spare chunks or allowing the fruit to go bad, Ms. Hayden recommends saving the pieces in a Ziploc bag and storing it in the freezer. For a delicious and refreshing drink, take out the watermelon pieces and mix them in a blender with some lemon for a quick and easy watermelon lemonade.

“For those of you who like alcoholic drinks you can add a little vodka,” she joked.

While a little indulgence is just fine, Ms. Hayden reiterated the importance of introducing water-rich fruits and veggies to summertime meals in order to stay hydrated during the looming summer heat wave. Watermelon and grapes are an easy way to replenish needed fuel, she suggested. In recreating one simple recipe, Ms. Hayden cut open a watermelon, and with a biscuit cutter—a cookie cutter also works—cut out generous portions of watermelon. She used a melon baller to hollow out the center of each piece and filled the hole with a generous portion of chicken salad. Grapes and strawberries served as a complimentary side dish. Lecture-goers were as thrilled about the creativity of Ms. Hayden’s culinary invention as they were pleased to have the chance to help devour it.

Among those indulging was Maria Rodriguez and her mother, Connie Rodriguez, a frequenter of the Joslyn Center. Maria is not a regular visitor of the Joslyn Center. In fact, she isn’t even a senior, but she was eager to join her mother for an impromptu mother-daughter date centered on one of her favorite activities, cooking. As an employee of the Claremont Chefs Academy, she is always looking to add to her rolodex of recipes. And after a recent gastro surgery, she is constantly seeking ways to enjoy the food she loves while also making healthier choices.

“Every little bit helps,” she said.

Join with other seniors and locals for the next Coffee Talk meeting on Tuesday, June 18, at 10 a.m. in the Joslyn Center’s Oak Room. Trader Joe’s employees will present a cooking demonstration teaching guests how to prepare an easy 4-course meal. For a full list of classes, visit www.claremontseniors.org or call the Joslyn Center, located at 660 N. Mountain Ave., at 399-5488.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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