“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” A line made famous by the movie “Forrest Gump” and a line my mom used on me about eight weeks ago when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 88.
My mom was never one who indulged much in desserts. She was well known as one who would “clean up the edges” of the cake or brownie pan, you know, so they would be square and crisp lines. But she was rarely seen having an actual piece of the cake or pie – that is until she entered the last six weeks of her life. She must have known, because as we all took her out to lunches and dinners over those final weeks, she kept ordering dessert with every meal. She was really enjoying carrot cake and bumbleberry cobbler. I thought to myself, “heck yeah, enjoy life, eat dessert.”
I had this on my mind when I bumped into Kathy Elseser of Plum Creek Senior Living in Brunswick. I was at the wonderful Business in the Barn event put on by the Brunswick Chamber and Plum Creek Senior Living had a table full of the most perfect cake pops. At first, I thought why cake pops for a senior living table? But then I thought about my mom enjoying the desserts in her final weeks. It just makes sense to live it up if you are playing out your final chapter.
Kathy and I talked about this for a while and she described how they take desserts very seriously at senior living facilities. Plum Creek has a secret weapon in the dessert category, Debby. Debby is a lifelong baker. I asked Kathy to send me a little more on Debby, because I really enjoy knowing that our seniors are finally enjoying their just desserts.
Debby is the dining services director at Plum Creek Assisted Living. She has been an intricate part of dining experience since Plum Creek opened a little over 10 years ago. Debby lives in Valley City with her husband now that her children have grown and have children of their own. Debby decided to take a cake decorating class in 1984 at the Medina County Career Center because she thought it would be fun. And it was!
This grandma is the queen of sweets and creates all of her grandchildren’s birthday cakes, made to order just for them. Her creative designs not only look amazing but also taste delicious. Layered strawberry shortcake that looks like a parfait is one of Debby’s speciality desserts. This is right up my alley.
Plum Creek hosts many parties for the residents living there, such as happy hour, big bingo, birthday bashes and holiday celebrations. Sometimes, the outside community is invited to join in their special parties like Vegas day, the car show and different events for nonprofits. Each of the parties are themed with Debby’s specialty desserts and fruit displays. Examples are pot of gold cake pops and rainbow cupcakes for St Patrick’s Day, chocolate witch hats for Halloween, white-chocolate-covered strawberries drizzled with red and green for Christmas, monkeys made of fruit hanging from a palm tree for their Luau party, clock cookies for New Year’s Eve or a purse made of watermelon for our Mother’s Day fruit display.
We all love food and that doesn’t change as we get older. For some older adults, they are now enjoying those extra simple pleasures, where as before, they were trying to “watch what they eat.” Quality of life is what Plum Creek is striving to give each of the seniors who are choosing to call Plum Creek their home. Debby’s delicious desserts make it all the more special. Watching the pure enjoyment on each resident’s face as they "ooh" and "ah" over these decadent and gorgeous desserts as they move along the dessert buffet choosing their pleasure. One, two or maybe more desserts.
I really enjoy this thought of assisted living facilities for our seniors going the extra mile for amazing desserts. At the same time, it has me thinking that maybe my sweet tooth is not such a bad thing. Desserts have always been referred to as “a guilty pleasure,” but I think we all should be indulging more in treating ourselves to the finishing touches on a great meal.
Walk an extra few miles and treat yourself to the desserts when you dine out or even at home. You deserve it!