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You are here: Home > National Older Americans Month

National Older Americans Month 2020


 July, 2020


 National Older Americans Month 2020

Nostalgic Ways We’ve Made Our Mark in the Kitchen

Nostalgic – adjective - exhibiting feelings of longing for the past; sentimental Every May our country observes Older American's Month to recognize the contributions of our nation's elders.

This year's theme is: Make Your Mark. The theme highlights the countless contributions that older adults make to our communities. Their time, experience and talents benefit family, peers and neighbors every day. Recognizing the contributions of our elders is particularly important during this time.

One special way older Americans make their mark is in the kitchen. Most of us can recall a special memory of time in the kitchen or at the table with an elder, and we have those dog-eared recipe cards from loved ones tucked away for safe keeping. Knowing that people turn to cooking and food for comfort in times of distress, DSAS decided to showcase these nostalgic culinary connections with a blog, “Nostalgic Nourishment”, designed to share favorite recipes and memories and provide some comfort during this uncertain time.

What recipes do you recall fondly? What memories have you made at the kitchen table, the stove or the backyard grill? We invite older adults in Cuyahoga County to submit their favorite recipe, the story of its origin and the memories made through it. If you are interested in sharing your recipe, please email Kathie Sizemore. We hope to collect enough recipes and memories to publish a future e-cookbook.

Bohemian German Dumpling Recipe
Submitted by Peg Bednar, Solon Senior Center Member

This is a recipe from Rita Kubec Bednar, my mother-in-law. My mother, Rose Votruba Koch, made drop dumplings the size of a baseball that were dry on the inside and soft on the outside. My side of the family loved them, but I didn’t like those as much as this recipe.

Every New Year’s Day, our family gathers, has a pork roast, sauerkraut, and dumplings for dinner to ensure good health and fortune in the coming year. This is my husband Joe’s favorite meal, and he always has seconds!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 toasted slices of white bread, cubed
  • 1 man’s handkerchief, new

Directions: Beat eggs and add milk, stirring in flour and salt.  Mixture will not be smooth.  Mix in bread cubes.  Wet a man’s handkerchief, place dough in the center, and tie corners together, leaving room for dough to rise.  Drop into boiling water (enough to cover) for 20 minutes.  After the first 20 minutes, turn over to the other side and cook for another 20-25 minutes.  Take out of the water, peel off the handkerchief and slice the dumpling as thick or thin as you wish.

Vanessa’s Buttermilk and Brown Sugar Pound Cake
with Key Lime Cream Cheese Glaze

Submitted by Vanessa Jackson, Senior and Wellness Coordinator,
May Dugan Center Seniors on the Move Program

I love to bake cakes. My great aunt was a retired pastry chef. She took care of five or six preschoolers while our mothers worked. She taught us to bake. I suspect it was a way to get us all in the same room behaving ourselves.

She would give us flour in a bowl and wooden spoons. She taught us to fold, beat, cream, stir, and whip. There was flour all over the newspaper-covered kitchen floor most days. By the time I entered Kindergarten, I could make the cake batter. By the time I was old enough to use the stove, I was baking regularly.

I have learned to bake many kinds of cakes over the years. Pound cake is still my favorite.

Pound cake is simple. It is a great way to introduce children to baking. Pound cake can be frozen. It keeps well. It is delicious covered with in-season fruit, ice cream, or flavored syrup and whipped cream. If it gets a bit stale, cut a slice, lightly butter it and toast until just golden.

Learning to bake cakes at such a young age provided me with many great lessons including measuring, following instructions, kitchen hygiene, and safety. I also learned collaboration and patience. And I got to eat cake!

Vanessa’s Buttermilk and Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Glaze

This is a basic pound cake recipe. The secret to a pound cake is beating. Make sure you beat the batter until light and smooth. The pound cake stands on its own. The Key Lime glaze is Vanessa’s special twist. It gives the pound cake a little extra tang. The glaze freezes well. You can make a double batch for your next cake.


1 Cup Granulated Sugar
½ Tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
¼ Tsp Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Tsp Lemon Extract
4 Large Eggs
3 ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour

• Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make certain the rack is positioned in the middle of the oven.
• Grease and flour: 10” tube or Bundt pan or 5 5 ¾ x 3 ¼ inch disposable foil loaf pans. Make sure the pans are completely greased and floured, otherwise your cake will stick to the pan.
• In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
• Gradually add in sugars, beating until light and fluffy.
• Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed just until blended after each addition.
• In another bowl, stir together buttermilk and baking soda.
• Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
• Beat at low speed after each addition just until blended; stir in vanilla and lemon extract. Beat until smooth and aerated; at least 5 minutes. Don’t skimp on the beating, it helps your cake rise.
• Pour batter evenly into pan(s) (about 1 cup batter per loaf pan).
• Bake in a preheated 325° oven for 50-55 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
• Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
• Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Vanessa’s Key Lime Cream Cheese Glaze Ingredients:

  •   4 Ounces Cream Cheese Softened
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Extract
  • ¼ Cup Butter Softened
  • 1 ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Curd
  • 2 Tsp Lime Juice

• Combine the cream cheese and butter till mixed. Do not over mix
• Add the lime curd. Mix until incorporated.
• Add the lemon extract and lime juice. Mix until incorporated.
• Add the powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time. The glaze should be thinner than frosting, but with enough body to spread.
• Glaze cooled pound cake.
• The pound cake can be frozen. It will keep in a covered container in a cool place for several days.

Rochelle’s Zucchini Bread
Submitted by Rochelle Jackson-Days
SMBC Supervisor, Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services

Rochelle Jackson-Days got more than she bargained for when she moved into her new home a few years back. Her neighbor Mr. Miller, an avid gardener, gifted her with three baseball-bat size zucchinis. “They were as big as my arm,” she exclaimed. “I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I really don’t eat zucchini, but I didn’t want to be rude and refuse them".

Mr. Miller’s wife then gifted her with a special zucchini bread recipe, so Rochelle decided to give it a try. “This was my first taste of zucchini bread, and I was hooked,” she says. “I personalized the recipe with a bit more cinnamon and vanilla, which gives it that special something!”

Rochelle enjoys baking, and throughout the years has treated her family and staff to chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate cake, and now zucchini bread. She can’t recall when she started baking, but says it just comes naturally. “I love seeing people’s eyes light up with joy after tasting one of my simple treats,” she explains. “Baking is so easy to do, and the benefits of other’s appreciation are so rewarding!”

Rochelle believes her zucchini bread finds a special place in people’s hearts. “One of my workers refused to try it, until one day I was able to convince him to taste it. Afterwards, he asked me to personally bake him TWO,” she laughed. “He took them home to share with his son and told me that together ‘they smashed it’!”

"I laugh when I think back about those three huge zucchinis,” she smiles. “They kept me busy all week baking bread for my then fiancé, my daughter, my mom, my sister, my staff, and even an extra one for myself without nuts.” The recipe is a now a tradition. Every year, Rochelle waits in anticipation for Mr. Miller to start his backyard routine and puts her bid in for fresh zucchinis.

Rochelle’s Zucchini Bread

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (I always use a little more)
  • 1 ¼ cup grated peeled zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (I always use a little more)

Directions: Beat egg, add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla Add dry ingredients and then the nuts Bake at 325°
in a greased and floured 5 x 7 loaf pan for 55-60 minutes. Enjoy!!

Carolyn’s Deluxe Sugar Cookies
Submitted by Kelly Clemings,
MSN, FNS Behavioral Health Nurse, DSAS’ Adult Protective Services Unit

“It’s been over 20 years, but I still remember Carolyn,” says Kelly Clemings, DSAS’ Behavioral Health Nurse. “She’s one of those people that just touches your heart in a special way.” Kelly and Carolyn worked together for many years at Good Samaritan Hospital in Zanesville,Ohio. Through the decades, the hospital’s staff would celebrate various holidays and happenings together, and Carolyn could be counted on to bring her deluxe sugar cookies. Decked festively for the holidays, frosted for the bake sale, bejeweled with sprinkles for the spring tea, Carolyn’s cookies were always a crowd favorite.

Kelly especially remembers how Carolyn surprised her at her baby shower back in 1981. Kelly was expecting her first daughter, and her friend took extra pride in the fancy pink-sugared confections she created for the event. Though every cookie was devoured, Carolyn had set aside a small box of cookies for Kelly to bring home as her special gift.

As the years ensued, Kelly gave birth to two lovely daughters, Jocelynn and Caitlin, and Carolyn continued to bake her treats, always certain to set aside a little box of goodies for Kelly to take home to her girls. One day, Carolyn sadly shared the news that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. As her health began to wane, she thought fondly of Kelly and her girls, and decided to gift them with the secret recipe for her delightful sweets.

Though Carolyn has passed, her memory lives on in the cookies Kelly now shares with her colleagues and family. She still uses the same stain-soaked recipe card Carolyn gave her many years ago. “I get requests for them all the time, and I enjoy baking them, but there’s just something missing,” she says. “Carolyn must have had a secret ingredient, because they just don’t taste the same.” Perhaps there’s a touch of soul that makes each recipe unique.

Carolyn’s Deluxe Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup soft margarine
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp.baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Cream of Tartar

Direction: Cream together margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla. Sift flour, soda and Cream of Tartar together, and slowly add to the mixture. Chill dough well, then cut into shapes and bake at 325-350° for 7 to 8 minutes.