DOROT Seniors Join Grade School Children to Explore Culture Through Food
Intergenerational Cooking Program Helps Reduce Social Isolation of Elderly
What happens when you bring together, in the kitchen, the generation that can find every detail on the Internet and the generation that cooks with a pinch of this and a dash of that?
DOROT has partnered with the Jewish Journey Project (JPP), an initiative of the JCC in Manhattan, to offer a program that promotes learning and collaboration between generations—in the kitchen.
DOROT Cooks is an intergenerational cooking program in which students in grades 3–7 meet with seniors to explore food and culture. During the classes, seniors and students share stories and memories about cooking a particular dish, learn its history and traditions, and explore the culture behind it. They prepare and cook the food together using fresh, organic, local and seasonal foods whenever possible. These activities, as well as the evocative aromas that emerge during the cooking process, stimulate recollections and conversation.
The children benefit from the elders’ experience and wisdom as they delight the senior participants with their energy and fresh outlook. The daughter of a DOROT senior who participated in class said, “For the first time in a long while my 92–year–old mother felt welcome, useful, and able to contribute something to others. At this late stage in her life, having lost most of her friends and no longer capable of working or participating in strenuous volunteer opportunities, this class was a godsend. She was more vibrant, alert, cheerful, and optimistic all week due to the class on Thursday. Her week revolved around looking forward to it before, and talking about it afterwards. It was comforting for me, as her sole family, to hear her so happy and involved and to see her so much more ‘herself’ than she had been.”
DOROT COOKS is led by Nancy Wolfson–Moche, who created the curriculum and recipes. She is a writer and nourishment educator who guides women, children, and families on improving their health and well–being through making informed diet and lifestyle choices.