Willows Estate nutritional care team taps into creativity to prepare Valentine’s Day dinner

‘We will continue to strive to make mealtime on special holidays equally memorable as other days’

The Willows Estate nutritional care team prepared a special Valentine’s Day dinner for residents of the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home that was as creative as it was delicious.

Nutritional care manager Davina Mesquito challenged the Willows Estate cooks to prepare a dinner and dessert that would include heart-shaped, cheese-filled ravioli and heart-shaped cookies.

The nutritional care team chose to serve the heart-shaped pasta in a creamy alfredo sauce alongside a serving of vegetables and garlic toast.

To end the meal, the team chose broken-glass Jell-O, a dessert consisting of different colours and flavours of Jell-O blocks that are set into chilled condensed milk. The broken-glass Jell-O was then cut into squares and each topped with a heart-shaped cookie.

Willows Estate has been impacted by a COVID-19 outbreak since Dec. 24. Provided there is no change in status, the outbreak is expected to end on Feb. 23.

With strict safety protocols in effect at the Willows, Davina says she and the nutritional care team wanted to do something special this Valentine’s Day for residents.

Preparing fancy meals, she says, is one way the team can make a meaningful difference to residents during a challenging time.

In addition to the special Valentine’s Day dinner, the nutritional care and life enrichment staff handed out heart-shaped goody bags filled with soft-textured chocolate for residents to enjoy.

The bags used were ones that could easily be wiped down and sanitized to keep in line with the COVID-19 safety requirements, Davina notes.

Davina says the Willows Estate nutritional care team takes pride in going the extra mile to ensure residents are served special meals.

“We will continue to strive to make mealtime on special holidays equally memorable as other days,” she says.

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