Local seniors go Italian at Powisset

Meg Tallon tends to a homemade marinara sauce at Powisset Farm’s class for seniors. Photos by Laura Drinan

By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Making fresh pasta and pasta sauce may seem like a daunting task, but Meg Tallon at Powisset Farm worked alongside members of the Dover and Westwood Councils on Aging to prove that a homemade Italian meal is actually quite simple.

With recipes for a garlicky kale salad, fresh pasta, a classic marinara, and a butternut squash and spinach sauce, the group of seniors collaboratively cooked to complete and eat the meal in just two hours time. Despite having a mass of tasks ahead of them, the seniors maintained a cheerful and relaxed mood in the kitchen.

Meg Tallon demonstrates how to use the KitchenAid pasta attachment at the Dover and Westwood COA’s cooking class. Photos by Laura Drinan

Meg Tallon demonstrates how to use the KitchenAid pasta attachment at the Dover and Westwood COA’s cooking class. Photos by Laura Drinan

“It’s just nice to work within your own community and people see the farm’s resources. It’s just a peaceful place to be,” said Dover Council on Aging’s director, Janet Claypoole. “It’s not stern. It’s not like a classroom. It’s all very open and friendly.”

The Dover COA began working with Powisset Farm about eight years ago, when the farm invited the seniors to a summer picnic. After building the test kitchen, Powisset Farm partnered with the COA more frequently to bring cooking programs to the seniors.

While Dover’s seniors have been enjoying the farm for several years now, Westwood’s Council on Aging has been participating in Powisset’s programs for about a year and a half.

“When I heard about, I told Janet, ‘Guess what? We’re joining you,’” Lina Arena-DeRosa, director of the Westwood COA, said, laughing. She explained that the class perfectly unified the two Councils because it always yielded the right amount of participants. “I knew that I wouldn’t have enough people sign up for a class, but I knew I had enough for half of a class. And you need to have enough people to be able to cook and eat together and have fun together.”

Mary, a participant at Powisset Farm’s Italian cooking class, rolls out pasta dough with COA directors, Lina Arena-DeRosa and Janet Claypoole.  Photos by Laura Drinan

Mary, a participant at Powisset Farm’s Italian cooking class, rolls out pasta dough with COA directors, Lina Arena-DeRosa and Janet Claypoole. Photos by Laura Drinan

With about a dozen participants slicing, dicing, stirring, and kneading fresh ingredients, laughter and chatter quickly filled the room after the seniors watched Meg’s dough-making demonstration. Although their cooking skills were certainly called upon, the seniors also ensured the lunchtime class would be a time to socialize, as they conversed with familiar faces and befriended new ones from the neighboring COA.

As the sauces finished simmering and the nests of pasta were dropped into a pot of boiling water, the seniors dressed the kale salad and set the table, awaiting a delicious meal to which they all contributed.

While making fresh pasta is normally a time-consuming task, it seemed like time well spent to the seniors - because it was in the company of friends.

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