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Franklin Parker, resident, and Kathy Disney, Fletcher dietary staff member, bring yummy desserts to the tables during the "Caribbean Cruise" meal at Fletcher House in Pleasant Hill.

Institutional food usually does not find favor with any ages from the youngest school child, to college dorm students, to elders in communal living. How unusual was it then that a bread pudding prepared by Morrison Foods, in charge of food service for both Fletcher House and Wharton Homes in Pleasant Hill, won the “Best Dessert” at the Taste of Crossville? Of course, it was a white chocolate bread pudding with rum sauce, which was “to die for.”

Morrison Foods has been contracted by Uplands Village for a little over a year now, and the change in meals is definitely palpable. Morrison provides two on-site management staff, a director of dining services and a registered dietician and many other long-time reliable staff work with them.

The summer menu contains a healthier approach with made from scratch and fresh products vs. processed and canned. Foods like quinoa and Udon noodles have been successfully introduced into the menus. The Fletcher House dietary staff, under the direction of Deidre Ellis, does all of the catering and special events for the whole Village.

Recently, the residents enjoyed a “Caribbean Cruise” menu of pineapple glazed ham, cumin butternut squash, pineapple jasmine rice, Hawaiian rolls with key lime pie for dessert. Several of the elders dressed in cruise attire for the event and the servers donned grass skirts, flowers and leis. The tables were appropriately decorated with palm trees and flowers. 

Kathy Disney from White County, who has worked at Fletcher House for 18 years, is not only a caring and capable server, but she creates illustrated, personalized place cards on her computer, laminating them for each resident.

The Fletcher House kitchen prepares cheese snacks for the monthly wine and cheese parties and monthly birthday cakes for all to enjoy. Breakfasts are å la carte; you order whatever you want. If it is your birthday, you pick the menu.

There is always something going on in the dining room besides eating. Poetry reading by Berwyn Coovert, portrayals by Will Rabert, community bridge, Farkle (sort of like Bunco), dominoes, movies, choral groups from various outside groups, bingo, craft sales and often just conversation with friends.

Downstairs in Adshead Hall there are tri-weekly exercise classes, ping pong, Yoga, exercise equipment for use, Armchair Theater drama group, and many events taking place. In addition, residents take trips together to the dollar store, playhouse, out-to-lunch and afar. Makes you really look forward to being in assisted care, doesn’t it? 

This week in Pleasant Hill:

Thursday, July 10, 8:30 a.m. — Forum at Pleasant Hill Community House for county sheriff, chancellor, district attorney, judges, etc. Nonpartisan. Call 277-5467.

Friday, July 11, 2:30 p.m. — Farkle game day in Fletcher House Dining Room. There will be refreshments, prizes and favors. Call 277-3980 or 277-3512.

Saturday, July 12, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday, July 13, 2-4 p.m. — Book sale in Blue Barn on Lake Rd. Call 277-5853.

Saturday, July 12 — Gospel music at The Garden, 603 Genetta Lane. Wanda Reed and Living Water, 4 p.m.; dinner, 5 p.m.; Pilgrim Christian Fellowship, 6 p.m.

July 13-17, 6-8 p.m. — Vacation Bible School at Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission. Call 788-2844.

Tuesday, July 15 — Lake Trail Hike, Picket State Park. Meet at 10 a.m. in the PHCC parking lot, corner of Church and Main Streets, to carpool to the trailhead. Call 277-3518, ext. 103.