Our Life MN Our Life - Page 3

focus.mnsun.com / post.mnsun.com Our Life • Thursday/Friday, November 17 & 18, 2016 Page 3 Seniors’ pet peeves about dining out “All I make for dinner is reservations.” You hear that a lot among older adults these days. More and more seniors are cooking less and eating out more. For some, it’s a regular routine. For others, it’s a special treat. For all, it’s a guilty pleasure. They all agree that eating out is fun. But there are some issues. Most seniors don’t like to complain or make waves, but there are a few common pet peeves among older diners. Here are some of the most frequent complaints older folks voice about dining out in today’s restaurants: • Too much noise. For seniors, eating out is a social event. They like to talk to each other over the meal. But most modern restaurants are too noisy Guest column ... by Bob Ramsey for friendly conversations. The TV and the music are cranked up full blast and the acoustics are lousy. Of course, restaurant owners like it that way. It creates a sense of “happening” in the establishment and discourages lingering. Besides most millennials would rather text, than talk — so restaurants keep putting the din back in dinner. • Too much food. Restaurant plate portions are overly ample for most seniors. That’s why many older adult diners take Caterers FROM PAGE 1 more than 200 people a week in classes, Bernie said. Bernie said she started out intending to get an interior design degree, then studied dressmaking at Minneapolis Vocational High School. In the end, though, she said, “I just like to cook.” Dick, an avid hunter and fisherman, cooks, too, including the fish frys at St. William Church. “My folks and hers were pretty good cooks,” Dick said. “I’m of Polish descent, and we were kind of brought up that way. We used to attend a lot of church events. That’s how we got into restaurant events. My wife is the chief cook.” “We’ve always worked together all these years,” Bernie said. “All of our boys are good cooks, too.” Now, Bernie says, “I’m trying to wind down a bit,” noting that she quit making thousands of Christmas cookies two years ago. She used to spend 10 days baking and gave away 27 huge platters of cookies each year. “We made up the platters on Christmas Eve,” she said. “They were all over the home “doggie bags” that neither they nor their dog ever sniff again. The older generation would rather eat less, waste less and pay less. Strangely, restaurant operators don’t share this vision. • Too much overfamiliarity. Many of today’s servers become too friendly, too quickly to suit most seniors. For example, addressing customers (strangers) as “you guys” seems like rushing things to older adults. Seniors just want good service, not another BFF over dinner. • Too much togetherness. Many restaurants, bars and bistros today are jamming customers together elbow-to-elbow to squeeze in more people and squeeze out more profit. It’s too close for comfort kitchen, covered and with bows on top.” She’s a scrapbooker, too. In 2013 and 2015, her project was a picture a day. Those years and others are artfully displayed in a series of well-read scrapbooks that chronicle the life and times of all the Stawski children and grandchildren. One of their keepsake photos is a newspaper clipping showing Bernie and Dick after they were selected teenage royalty in 1953 at the Northeast Neighborhood House in Minneapolis. In keeping with her busy schedule, Bernie has slipped another activity onto her calendar. She’s an on-call receptionist for Catholic Eldercare home in northwest Minneapolis. “We’re still pretty active in our 80s,” Dick said. “It keeps us young, and we like to do it. She’s always baking or cooking She’s really a tremendous cook. We do a lot of dinners with the family.” Dick recalls having earlier Thanksgiving dinners for the family at a restaurant they owned in Brooklyn Park and serving 60 or 70 family members on those occasions. “We’re a pretty close-knit family,” Dick said. “We are truly blessed.” for older adults. To them, it feels like livestock feeding from a trough, rather than a pleasant dining experience. If you’re close enough to cut your neighbor’s steak, you’re too close for older patrons. Seniors want their space. The list could go on; but these are the prime gripes older adults have about the current restaurant experience. But food vendors don’t need to worry too much. Seniors won’t let these little annoyances keep them from eating out because they like to “eat,” like to “go” and like being “out” and about. It reminds me of what happened when my daughter took her puppy, “Nyota,” to visit the school where she worked. (There should “For seniors, eating out is a social event. But most modern rest