We have always lovingly referred to John’s parents as ‘the olds’. I don’t know where it started or who came up with the idea that it would be appropriate but I can’t remember a time when they were anything else.
You’ve gotten to know Rob through the pages of my blog because he lived with us for over a year – recipe tasting and commenting on every one. Most he liked, some he thought were too difficult to eat for an old man and a few he thought needed a rethink. I always appreciated his honesty because being told, “It’s great,” doesn’t really help. Neither of the men in my house ever did that.
Now that both Rob and John’s mother Joan are in a local aged care facility, it requires much visitation. Joan is not happy she’s there and Rob’s pleased as punch with all his new friends and staff at Arcare to wait on him.
“Maureen, I get breakfast at 8am, morning tea at 10, lunch is at noon, afternoon tea at 3, dinner at five (complete with wine) and supper (a cup of hot chocolate) at 7:30pm,” he tells me with obvious glee. He didn’t get that sort of service from us.
The other day I suggested the four of us head to the Australia Zoo for a walk. What a great idea that was. We’ve lived in this community for 3 years but have never been to the zoo. It’s the Crocodile Hunter’s zoo – Crikey! The zoo is beautifully maintained with friendly staff and way more than we could see during our visit. We bought annual passes because it’s a terrific place to go for a walk with many places to sit and have a rest.
Joan has moderate to severe dementia depending upon the day and that day she had a lot of fun. The best part for her was watching all the little children. You can make a teacher retire but you can never remove her love of children. At every exhibit there was always a wait while she talked to a little one.
This little fella joined us for lunch. Who knew he liked egg salad sandwiches?
It’s really cool to see how close they stand to huge crocodiles in the ‘Crocoseum’. I know it’s a dumb name.
And finally, who can resist the koalas? John says they stink and they pee on your head if you’re in the bush and to him I say, ‘bah humbug! they are SO cute!’
A few people have written to me asking how Rob was getting along at the nursing home so I thought I’d share these photos to let you know he’s having the time of his life. He does call every day but I suspect that’s to make sure there’s someone who cares at the end of the line. It’s early days. The only ones that make me groan are the calls before 7am.
I asked him if he’d like to come home and spend the night while he goes through the books he had shipped up here for his bookshelves and I thought he’d be eager. Nope. “Maybe next week,” he said.
Now for some soup! I love this potato leek soup and I hope you will too. It’s easy, quick and very filling.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 100 grams bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks, washed and sliced (use the pale portion only)
- 500 grams potatoes (about 4 large potatoes), peeled and cubed
- 1 litre vegetable stock (I used low salt chicken stock because it's what I had in the pantry)
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cream
- Fry bacon until done, add all the chopped vegetables and cook on medium-low heat until the carrots are soft. You don't want the onion or leeks to brown.
- Add the stock and then the potatoes and bring to the boil.
- Cook until soft - usually about 10 minutes with the lid on the pot.
- Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and add the cream.
- Whiz with a stick blender until smooth.
Holly | Beyond Kimchee says
I love potato leek soup and I like your recipe. It is similar to the way I make. Such a comforting soup. It is great to have someone other than your family to taste the food you create and give an honest opinion on it. They are such a cute couple!
I hope that since the olds are in the same facility, organising visitations are easier. With Joan, all you can do is enjoy the good days and get through the bad ones cause the next time, with luck, she’ll be better. When my mom was home with me, before we finally placed her in a nursing home, I was happy that she spent most of her time dozing because I worried that if she was too alert she might wander. At the ‘home’ there were people around and she could enjoy being alert. It’s great that Rob is still enjoying his meals. He’ll likely want to come and visit once everything isn’t quite so new and exciting.
Potato and leek soup … yummy. Not something that would have been served by my mom. In fact, I made one of her standards a few days ago… a classic chicken noodle soup. The only change I made was to use dried thyme in the chicken stock. The bbq leg of lamb I made for Easter would not have been on her menu either. She wasn’t a fan of mutton. 🙂
Glad you had a wonderful time at the Australia Zoo. I Wish health to your parents in law. As for the soup I think I will try it too.. love a good quick soup, I am sure my daughters will love it too.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
I’m glad to hear that Rob is having a great time. When you describe it as all those meals with plenty of friends, it does sound good! 😀
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
Sounds like you had a really fun day at the zoo! My kids would LOVE to see Koala bears up close! I love potato leek soup, and make it sometimes, but next time I’ll try your recipe!
I’m so glad the Olds are doing well. 🙂 That must really put your minds at ease. I love going to the zoo – though I haven’t been to this one yet. 🙂
I hadn’t been to Australia Zoo either but I’m glad I did. It’s an American style entertainment venue. Steve Irwin’s wife is American.
That is such an Australian term. All of my friends used to call their parents “The Olds”. I don’t like it , it’s getting too close for comfort. I can’t believe Rob has flown the coop and left you- just like that, still it’s so fantastic that he has someone to wait on him now instead of you. No what I meant to say is its so great that he likes it there because that makes you feel so much better about him being there. x
I love reading about your olds. Your Ma in law must have been an awesome teacher. I used to be a sceptic about the aged facilities, but now they make so much sense….we do still provide that kind of care to older people in India, but it is getting increasingly difficult. So if te facilities are like this, it’s really nice.
Love the soup.
My grandmother was in one when she was 99 and not really in there mentally. I hated going there. This Arcare facility is like a resort with extra staff. 🙂 Yes, it’s quite expensive but they can afford it so why not enjoy these years as best they can.
Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits says
Your soup sounds so appetizing! I never tire of potato and leek soup. What an adventure at the zoo. I sure wouldn’t want to be that crocodile trainer shoes!!!
We call my parents the folks, our kids the kids and our grandkids the grandbabies. Oh well, the “olds” look happy and well in the picture. And that zoo looks amazing, looks like the crocs are a big exhibit there and that makes total sense. Love the soup, potato leeks is one of my favorites. Lovely post.
I a happy that John has made friends and is happy too.
It is a comfort to know that he is enjoying new friends and is comfortable with his surroundings.
The zoo looks like a spectacular way to spend the afternoon.
As for the soup Maureen this happens to be one of my favorites! It brings back good memories of home.
Blessings dear. Catherine xo
It’s Rob. I’m keeping John around a little longer. 🙂 The Zoo is great and I look forward to our next walk.
Tricia @saving room for dessert says
I am very happy for you all that John is enjoying his new home. I’m sure you miss him, miss them both. The zoo looks great and the soup even better!
He does like it. 🙂
Love the update on Rob and Joan.
Love the koalas.
Loved the soup the best. 🙂
I’m glad to hear Rob’s doing well too. And whilst I know you loved having him there, it must also be nice to have the house back to just the two of you! Australia Zoo looks just as I’d imagined it, how good to hear that’s it’s been well maintained. PS. John’s right about koalas. 🙂
He’s told me that about the koalas for years. “And it STINKS when you are under a tree and get peed on,” he says.
Great post Maureen…love the pictures of the zoo…and the “the olds” look so cute…very inspiring.
The soup looks delicious…potato leek…yum!
Hope you are enjoying your week 😀
It looks like you had a lot of fun, that’s great! Loving the soup recipe!
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Great picture of the olds, Maureen, you are such a gem!!!!
John@Kitchen Riffs says
We started call my parents the oldsters when they were in their late 70s! After all, we were the youngsters. 😉 Glad Rob is enjoying himself. Maybe with him there, Joan will feel better about the place. Thanks for the update, and the soup. Leeks and potatoes work so well together, don’t they?
Hotly Spiced says
It looks like you had a lovely day at Australia Zoo and it’s lovely to see a photo of ‘the olds’ together. I imagine it would take a lot of patience walking old people around a zoo of that size. It’s good you bought the passes – we did that with Taronga Zoo and then you don’t feel like you have to go for the whole day; you can just go for a couple of hours and come back another time. I love potato and leek soup – it’s my favourite. I’ve never added a carrot though – will have to try that xx
Vicki Bensinger says
What a great story and how wonderful you are to take such good care of them. So many people don’t do that and I can’t figure that out, especially when they devote their life to raising you. It’s nice that he’s enjoying his stay there and the meals. I’m sure having a routine is helpful. I’m sure in time she will feel comfortable there as well. I think if she use to prepare the meals and now doesn’t have that opportunity that can sometimes bother the women.
A fun day at the zoo is great for all ages. Sounds like you all had an enjoyable time.
I love potato leek soup but honestly have never made it. I think I’ll save this recipe for a chilly day to try.
John’s parents are very lucky to have the two of you and I’m sure they know that. 🙂
Norma Chang says
Lovely photo of “the Olds”, they look so cute. Glad Rob has adjusted, made friends and are enjoying the meals and attention. Your leek and potato soup sounds delicious, saving recipe for the fall when my leeks and potatoes are ready.
Norma Chang says
Maureen, I posted a comment but it is not appearing, do you know what happened?
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I love potato leek soup and what a nice time you had at the zoo! “The Olds” look simply thrilled to be out and about! 🙂
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
I’m so glad he’s settling in well. It must be a relief and good to know he is in good hands (with regular food!). The day trip sounds like a lot of fun too, and your potato and leek soup is just the thing as the weather starts to cool down.
Adorable couple! The soup is just the way I like it, thick and creamy! 🙂 ela
When I visited Toronto, me and my boyfriend went to the zoo, but since it was -10 (or something ridiculous) nothing was really out 🙁 Those koalas sure are cute, I’m not sure I would care too much if one peed on my head :p
The soup? This looks so good! I am in need of a good soup right about now!
You have posted the best koala capture I have ever seen – guess where it is now? Just tell me to take it down and I shall!!! And was the ‘little fella”s diet actually meant to include egg salad sandwiches 🙂 ? And, sorry, still prefer the ‘vichyssoise’ to the ‘parmentier’!! Like both 🙂 !
Aww, thanks, Eha. I have no idea what that little fella is supposed to eat. Taking Rob anywhere to eat, there’s going to be stuff all over the floor because he has no feeling in the fingers of his right hand. After about 3 minutes, this lizardy thing came over and started eating and then his wife joined him but she was much more timid. Then a bush turkey decided to have her share too. So where did you put the photo? 🙂
It looks like you had a great time at the zoo. I love potato and leek soup. It is so comforting and filling.
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
I’m go glad you did this post Maureen. It is nice to know how happy Rob is and even though Joan isn’t happy, it really is the only place for her. I’m happy that you had a nice outing together. Your potato leek soup would hit the spot on our cold evenings…it refuses to stay warm here in New Hampshire.
Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says
Such fun! I love visiting with family, and it looks like you had a great time with yours. This soup looks scrumptious!
Carol at Wild GooseTea says
I love potato soup in every form. If my co-workers make potato soup at home, they generally bring me a bowl of it because they know how much I love it. By the list of ingredients this looks like a winner. Whoa its a big deal with Rob. BIG deal. I am glad things are moving forward in a positive way.
What a fun day at the zoo…I bet Joan and Rob appreciated that outing! Your soup looks too delicious. Potatoes and leeks just seem to belong to each other. Yum 🙂
The picture of the olds is the absolute best! What a great couple and so happy!!! Thanks for sharing your fun visit to the zoo and the recipe for this delicious soup. I love Potato Leek but haven’t made it in a couple of years. Now you have me craving it.
Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul says
This is so endearing Maureen. Glad that the “olds” are settling in! Oh! and I love the soup too!
movita beaucoup says
I’ve heard that koalas are a bit… violent. Which is pretty cool given that they are so adorable.
It’s rare to see them in the wild. I’ve only seen them twice other than a zoo. Their fur feels like a wool sweater that’s been put in the dryer. 🙂
Hi Maureen, it seems that men are the more honest types when it comes to food tasting – in this household too! And this soup? Reminds me of my Mum’s staple and my childhood favourite. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Barbara | Creative Culinary says
What a lovely post Maureen; fun to hear about John; great pics of zoo and well, who can resist a wonderful warming soup. Now if only Joan could find some more happiness huh?
Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) says
Yikey Crikey!!! I don’t even like to look at the photos of those guys being so close to those crocodiles. And how wonderful that your trip to the zoo was successful. Nice photo of that wonderful sounding soup. Pinned.
Eva Taylor says
Sounds like you had a lovely day with the olds, it’s so nice that you are still able to spring them once in a while. I’m very glad that Rob is enjoying his new home and all the amenities, we just moved JT’s dad into a long term facility and I’m not certain he likes it much, he tends to sleep all day.
Sarah & Arkadi says
we totally love this soup! especially in the winter time!
Shashi @ RunninSrilankan says
So glad that Rob is doing so well at his new home! It makes all the difference when they are happy – my dad was moved into a nursing home this February, but my mom is thinking of moving him back to the independent senior living facility she is at, as he is miserable.
Glad yall had such a memorable visit with them – they look so happy and what an amazing zoo! Those koalas are indeed adorable – but don’t think I’d be saying the same about those crocs!
This soup looks delectable – as days get cooler for yall – days are starting to(finally) warm up for us!
Indre @ cumcakesnmiracles says
I love potato leek soup since my Jamie Oliver Ministry of food book. Never tried before, but now it’s one of my favorites for colder days.
Glad to hear he’s doing well. My grandma (she died at the age of 93) totally loved the home she was in the last couple of years. All those new friends she could play cards with and she loved it so much better than being at home by herself!
And that soup; well I could use a bowl right now!
My Mom just moved to a nursing home, maybe a month ago – big major change for our whole family. She is almost 91 now, and she doesn’t like to be there. It is too long a story and a bit too painful for me, made harder because of the distance and the feeling of impotence to help my sisters and nieces.
the third age is not easy. glad to know Rob is doing great, in great spirits…
(loved the koalas, although if one peed on my head I think I could die of a heart attack. Drama Queen? you don’t think so, do you? 😉
what a wonderful day and I cannot believe you had never been to this zoo before?!! I love nice zoos. Also love potato leek soup and recently had it on my blog but we didn’t purée it. Yours looks so good!
what a wonderful day and I cannot believe you had never been to this zoo before?!! I love nice zoos. Also love potato leek soup and recently had it on my blog but we didn’t purée it. Yours looks so good! It is really the most comforting meal.
Looks like you had lots of fun, I still need to visit that zoo last year we skipped it as my daugther wanted to do the theme parks.
Anyways that soup looks so comforting
Bam's Kitchen says
The zoo is the perfect place for the young, old and everyone in between. The shots of the alligator are kind of eerie so glad to hear that all was well and it did not end up in the soup. I love your leek and potato soup and the cream added. Perfect for a fall day. Have a super week. pinning! Take care, BAM
Helene D'Souza says
They are both looking great and it’s such a cute picture too. =)
You know I like potato leek soup, I am mostly too lazy to add bacon (or to even buy bacon) but I agree that it would complete the soup flavor well.
Koala piss on your head? lol
Look at those bad-ass Koalas 😀 Look how they posed for your camera! Visiting a zoo is always fun-filled …. full of surprises. Picture#4, nail-biting moment indeed!
Thanks for the recipe of the nice, inviting, uncomplicated soup 🙂
Christina @ The Hungry Australian says
“The olds.” Ha – my parents and in laws would have disowned us! 😉 Loving the soup recipe – it’s certainly soup weather again
I looooooove this soup
It’s warm here, but when the A/C is working – it’s perfect time for soup 🙂
I would have so much fun at that zoo, love the photos! Your soup looks delicious, perfect comfort food! Beautiful, Hugs, Terra
Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice says
I visited the Australia Zoo a few times and loved it. It sounds like you had a special visit there!