The best cookbooks for older people
8th March 2019
Cooking is one of the most common hobbies that people pick up during retirement. During some of the busier periods of your life, you may have found that cooking was pushed aside and, rather than create meals that include some of your favourite ingredients, you opted for quick meals to satiate your family. Now that you have some extra time on your hands, spending time cooking is a great way to increase your happiness. Replacing those simple recipes with something slightly more indulgent allows you to reignite the spark that food once gave you whilst allowing you to channel your energy into something productive. With this in mind, as you get older, you may have begun to notice changes to your tastebuds. Whereas you may have had a mental list of some of your favourite flavour combinations and recipes that you could once recite by heart, they may now be falling short of your expectations. However, there is a scientific explanation for this.
When you were born, your tongue was composed of over 9,000 tastebuds which worked in collaboration with your sense of smell. Throughout the early years of your life, these began to change, meaning that flavour profiles that you once wouldn’t have liked gradually made their way into some of your favourite meals. On the surface of your tongue, tiny bumps called papillae are home to minuscule hairs called microvilli, which send these messages to your brain, informing you about the taste of the food you’re eating. Every couple of weeks, the sensory organs of your tastebuds are replaced in order to substitute any damaged microvilli that allow you to taste properly but, as you get older, fewer of these tastebuds are repaired.
As you get older, food might not taste as strong as it once did. This means that you need to try new styles when cooking in order to feel as satisfied as you once would’ve. However, this can be difficult, especially if you haven’t prepared food in a while. This is why it is important to invest in a few cookbooks that can help you to prepare dishes with strong flavour profiles that you love. When it comes to buying a cookbook, however, there are a few other things that you need to take into consideration, such as your skill level.
Whether you used to have advanced knife skills or are simply attempting to cook for the first time in your life, you might not have the necessary skills that a few trickier recipe books may require. So, we’ve composed a list of a few of our favourite cookbooks that are suitable for all abilities.
The Wholesome Cook
In older age, lots of things change. Fortunately, many of these things have easy, quick-fix solutions. If you’re finding that you have decreased mobility, and often struggle walking up and down the stairs, installing a stairlift can help you to regain your sense of independence. Similarly, if you’re having painful stomach conditions, cutting certain food groups as gluten and sugar can help minimise side effects. The Wholesome Cook contains over 170 recipes that are easy to follow and help with a range of dietary requirements. Writer, Martyna Angell has a history as a health coach, meaning that each recipe has been carefully created to ensure they have all the health benefits that you’ll need as you get older. Plus, with so many different recipes on offer, you’ll be sure to find something that you love.
The Get-Ahead Cook
Jane Lovett’s The Get-Ahead Cook contains recipes that she best describes as “achievable for all abilities”, which makes this a great option if you’re just starting to get into cooking. Each of the recipes includes elements of food preparation that you can do in advance so, if anything should pop up at the last minute, you’ll already have elements of your evening meal ready to go. One of the biggest bonuses of this cookbook is that it is a great introduction into cooking, as each recipe has been created with the idea of socialising at the heart, meaning that you won’t have to feel isolated in the kitchen preparing dinner whilst having family or friends over.
The Gut Makeover
Registered Nutritional Therapist Jeannette Hyde’s cookbook, The Gut Makeover, focusses on the importance of maintaining a healthy gut biome. Much like how your tastebuds deteriorate, your gut biome begins to change as you pass the age of 50. This book encourages you to have as wide as possible intake each week of vegetables, fruit, and fresh herbs as these contain fibre and colour which feed good bacteria in your gut for overall health. You are also encouraged to incorporate fermented foods such as kefir, Roquefort cheese, and sauerkraut for the live bacteria in them to plant into your gut for good health too.
In The Gut Makeover, you will learn how to improve your digestive system through cooking and, hopefully, the benefits won’t stop simply at your digestive health. People have seen an improvement in their skin, mood and weight, all thanks to the nutritional meal plans inside.
The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook
The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook is great if you’re looking to try something new. Best-selling author Mridula Baljekar has won a plethora of awards thanks to her selection of classic recipes. Not only does the book contain recipes that you may not have sampled before, but it also takes you on a tour across India, informing you about the climate and culture, providing you with a worthwhile background education to help enrich your knowledge.
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