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The tooth-breaker

March 14, 2016
by Kathleen Mears
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In my time in nursing homes I have become accustomed to the phenomena of the chicken patty sandwich. At times the patty is just by itself—not made into a sandwich. It can be utilized as a substitute for some other more saucy or spicy entrée and sort of sounds like dietary is offering a better alternative. All I can say is be careful of it.

Chicken patties are different than they used to be. At this nursing home they have evolved from a patty which was loosely batter coated and pre-fried somewhere before it was heated up here. Now, the patty is battered more heavily, previously fried and still reheated. The result is a patty that looks golden brown and moist—if you could eat it right away when it comes out of the oven. However, if you are among the residents sitting in the dining room waiting for a while, by the time you get it, it is dry.

Lately dietary has been serving the chicken patty sandwich with a piece of bacon Swiss cheese and the condiment of our choice. I usually use mayonnaise, but can I tell you that even mayonnaise does not help much. The bacon has a little fat but not enough to revive a dry chicken patty.

The other day we had sloppy Joes which are not my favorite. I asked about the substitute a couple hours before lunch. When my aide did not come back quickly, I figured maybe they did not have a substitute or they only had a small amount for those who wanted something other than a sloppy Joe. So, I reconciled myself to the fact that I might have to eat what I was served.

An hour or so later, my aide popped in my room. She said, "About the lunch backup: It is a chicken patty sandwich—the tooth-breaker! So, do you want the tooth-breaker or the sloppy?"

After I was finished laughing, I said, “Give me the sloppy!”


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...