Four Days of Meals on Wheels

Between Pinterest boards filled with edible works of art to “Instagram-worthy” meals to “food porn,” thanks to technology, food has been objectified to the point in which many of us have practically forgotten its value.

I get it – my “phone eats first,” and I can spend 10 minutes trying to get the perfect Instapic of shards of Maldon Sea Salt artfully arranged on a juicy red tomato. I have a healthy preoccupation with food and feel lucky to be able to write about it for this paper.

“It was an eye-opening experience, not because the food was especially good or especially bad, but because it allowed me to appreciate food in a way I haven’t in years.” -Kersten Rettig

This month, instead of writing about a new restaurant, I’m featuring an old one: Meals on Wheels Dallas County is about 40 years old.

Meals on Wheels is the original Door Dash with employees and volunteers canvassing the Dallas area Monday through Friday to deliver meals to 4,500 clients for whom their daily delivery of food, a friendly face, and a kind word is a lifeline. Many MOW clients have health issues, so providing nutritious, balanced meals on such a large scale and tight budget is challenging. If you’re reading this in a newspaper delivered to your home, chances are you live in an affluent area and are unlikely to be food insecure. But have you ever wondered about what kind of food is prepared and delivered on such a large scale five days a week? Maybe not, but I hope you do if just this once.

With the help of Dr. Ashley Lind, the vice president of Meals on Wheels and population health, I ate four meals to gain insight into the value of Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors.

It was an eye-opening experience, not because the food was exceptionally good or especially bad, but because it allowed me to appreciate food in a way I haven’t in years.

I’m so fortunate, most of us are, to afford high-quality food and spend time and money dining out with our friends. We can order what we want; throw out what we don’t. We have so many choices, too many sometimes, on what and where to eat.

We can celebrate food with photos and hashtags and beautiful creations made from watermelon and a paring knife – and we should.

I hope, too, that we will be aware of those who are food insecure, lonely, and rely on that daily delivery of Meals on Wheels as one of their few remaining connections to socialization, sensorial pleasure, and nourishment for their bodies.

I say I’m not a critic, I’m a storyteller, but I’ll summarize the meals this way: They’re better than airplane food, WAY better than the Frank Crowley Courts Building Cafeteria you’re stuck with for jury duty, and better than starving, which is the alternative to Meals on Wheels delivery.

Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig eats, cooks, drinks, listens and loves, and tells all about it as a food writer and Instagrammer. She is president of the Dallas chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and serves on the board of VNA Texas/Meals on Wheels. She's a mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter. Follow her on Instagram @KickshawPapers.

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