My grannie has Alzheimer’s and it’s hard sometimes to see her battle through such a devastating disease. The good news is, she’s happy. Having worked with dementia extensively through my internship to become a dietitian, I find myself with a pretty good understanding of not only the nutritional implications that can come with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, but also with the personality and behavior changes.
All I know is that you have to learn to laugh and make the best of your time with loved ones.
My grannie has ALWAYS loved being the center of attention. She’s someone who loves being around others, being social, and simply having a good time. Simply put, she’s a pistol of a woman and some things never change. I mean, we’re talking about a woman who had 2 “boyfriends” for the better part of her adult life. TWO!
Not so long ago, we were visiting grannie in the assisted living facility she now stays at. We were talking, mostly with one another while grannie seemed dispondent and disengaged — a very common trait in many dementia patients. All of a sudden, Grannie picked up the front of her blouse and flashed the table her chest. She laughed and laughed, bringing the attention in the room to herself.
Being the quick wit that he is, Mr. Prevention asked, “Grannie, are you on spring break!?” She just laughed and laughed. It was funny and something I’ll never forget.
Recently, I called grannie to talk. Our conversations have become brief and repetitive and she is unable to recall exactly where I live, what I do, etc. We mainly talk about her day, what she ate last, what she’s wearing, and so on. I reminded her that she has a big birthday (90!!) coming up April 8th.
“Oh, do I?!” she asked.
“You do, Grannie! You’re going to be 90! Can you believe it?” I said back.
“Well, I feel good so I think that’s a good thing.” she reported.
“We’re going to celebrate your birthday, Grannie. What kind of cake do you want?” I asked. The woman LOVES sweets.
She fell silent for a good moment.
“Grannie, are you there?” I finally inquired.
“Yes, I’m just thinking still about what kind of cake I want.”
Another moment later she responded, “I want angel food cake…it’s my favorite!”
Lemon Angel Food Cake slightly adapted from Ina Garten, via Food Network by Eva Bakes
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of sugar with the flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until the eggs make medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute.
Slow the mixer down to medium speed and add the remaining 1-1/2 cups of sugar by slowly sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Beat for a few minutes until the egg whites look thick and shiny. Then add in the vanilla and lemon juice and continue to beat until very thick, about 1 more minute. Pour about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and gently fold it into the mixture with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour a little bit at a time until all the flour is incorporated (note: the less strokes used the better!)
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack until cool. If desired, drizzle the top with glaze (you can use powdered sugar mixed with a bit of lemon juice and/or milk).
Yield: 12 slices
Nutrition Information (per slice): 186 calories; 0 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 194 mg. sodium; 43.2 g. carbohydrate; 0.4 g. fiber; 4.6 g. protein
Result: Light and refreshing! This angel food cake was the perfect touch to a special meal…but without all the guilt. This fat-free cake is a favorite childhood favorite…there’s no going wrong with angel food cake! Enjoy!
I’m all stinky from my run last night..because our water heater went out! I came home to find it dripping steadily and all out of hot water. Guess I’ll head to the gym for a workout and SHOWER before work this morning! TGIF!
Oh my gosh, I can see this right now, your grannie pulling up her blouse and Mark saying “Are you on Spring Break?!”. That’s awesome. But, I’m sorry to hear about your Grannie, obviously. That’s got to be really difficult, I can’t imagine….
Can you believe I’ve never made my own angel food cake? Yeah, sinful, shame on me.
Our water heater went out last year, and rather than a stead drip it exploded ALL OVER the basement floor, literally, one Sunday evening while we were watching TV. It was such a joy.
Ahhh! That suuuucks! Ours was leaking but the water? Yeah, it’s Michigan-in-February cold. Brr! The gym’s shower was very nice this morning. The good news is that Mark called and it will be replaced under home warranty and more importantly…will be replaced TODAY!
My Nonna is going to be 90 this year too. She’s still such a firecracker. I love her.
Haha, that’s awesome! Firecracker women are the best 🙂
I couldn’t help but tear up as my grandma is going through the same thing. We’re watching their place while they’re at their winter home and I picked up different things I remembered from my childhood and cried wondering how long it would be before she forgot them. Dementia is the WORST disease out there. At least with cancer you have a chance. Sigh.
My My will FLIP over this cake!! Angel food cake and lemons are his favorite!
I know…it is SO sad. *hugs*
This looks so good! The only time in my life that I made angel food cake was with my grandma. It turned out amazing, so much better than the store bought kind. Can’t wait to try this!
That is so sweet 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed this cake. And an early happy birthday to your Grannie!
My son’s birthday is April 8th too, but he’ll be 5 🙂 Alzheimer’s and dementia is very hard to watch in someone you love and have known your entire life. We experienced it with my grandfather…it was tough. One day he knew who we were, and basically the next day he didn’t. This Lemon Angel Food Cake looks awesome however!
It occurs to me that one way to use up all the egg yolks left over from this recipe would be to make lemon curd. Then you could make this tart with it: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-lemon-yogurt-ice-box-tart-recipes-from-the-kitchn-169454. A seriously delicious recipe and I made it with my homemade nonfat Greek yogurt, so not too bad nutrition-wise (for a dessert, anyway).
Yes, dementia is so heartbreaking for the family; it’s sometimes worse for the family than the patient because the family is so aware of all that has been lost. My father had vascular dementia and, well, I’m sorry your family is dealing with this, Nicole. Internet hugs to you.
Another “curd” recipe I’ve been meaning to try with the cranberries in my freezer: http://www.thekitchn.com/fall-recipe-cranberry-squares-133199.