The Ottumwa Courier

Food

September 22, 2006

Bowersox serving up the food at Bloomfield Senior Center

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“I always envied both of my grandmas. No matter how much unexpected company showed up they could put a meal on the table.”

She washed up the utensils used in preparing the dessert, before continuing with the next recipe, commenting that “Grandma always said a messy cook is a good cook; but I clean as I go,” never letting clutter accumulate in her immaculate kitchen.

She enjoys collecting and reading cook books; also creating new recipes. “I like to take this from one recipe that looks good and that from another, for something new,” such as her own tasty Italian flavored version of colorful stir fry, Flavorful Garden Mix’.

She shared one of Grandma’s time saving secrets as she combined the stir fry ingredients.

“Grandma taught me how to measure in the palm of my hand,” she said. She shook a little crushed parsley into the cupped palm of her hand before dumping it into the vegetable mixture. “That’s about a teaspoon. Comes out about right every time if you measure” (with a measuring spoon.) And “this is about 1/2 teaspoon” she said, showing a smaller amount of a different herb in her cupped palm.

Bowersox is quick, efficient and can improvise if need be. As the only cook at the Senior Center, she cooks and serves an average of 36 meals per day. Then there is the unexpected, like 78 patrons on Valentine’s Day. She was by herself, but managed.

“People are requested to make reservations the day ahead, but not many do,” she said. She understands that often “they don’t know how they will feel the next day. Maybe they won’t feel like coming.”

She also cooks the home delivered meals. There is no need for anyone to go without a hot, balanced meal on weekends when the center isn’t open, because they make frozen meals, too. Sealed in a cardboard container, they resemble a T.V. dinner.

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