HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Dec. 26, 2005

Cokato Manor serves special breakfast

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Residents at Cokato Manor have been enjoying a special winter treat Tuesday mornings.

About seven or eight residents at a time are served a home-cooked style breakfast on good china. It’s not typical institutional food, either. Residents are served real eggs, waffles, pancakes, or French toast, bacon or sausage, toast, fruit, juice and coffee.

They eat in a smaller, more intimate dining room, and the special breakfast is served only on Tuesdays.

During the summer, a small group of residents is treated once a week for breakfast at Daniel’s Family Restaurant of Cokato. In the winter, though, it’s too cold to go outside. Instead, they have been entertained inside for the past 15 years, said Carol Semke, one of those who helped prepare and serve the special breakfast, Tuesday, Dec. 13. She is a Cokato Manor recreation therapy aide.

Volunteer Russ Irvin of Cokato also fried bacon and eggs and grilled waffles. This is his second year serving the special winter breakfast, he said.

Semke approached Irvin a couple of years ago while they were shopping in a grocery store about serving, and he agreed to help out.

Irvin knows most of the “guests” who receive written invitations to the breakfast, Semke said. Irvin’s familiarity with residents helps keep the conversation going, because not all the residents know each other beforehand.

“It was a surprise,” Ida Mae Kahnk said about her invitation to the winter breakfast.

Irvin joked that because he had worked with one of the guests in his 37 years in the carpet installation business, she had been his “boss.”

The residents invited to the waffle, bacon and eggs breakfast were Ellen Rokala, Ida Mae Kahnk, Lorraine Oliver, Marion Hempel, Lillian Johnson, Emma Tukua and Helen Blodgett.

The table was decorated with Woolies snowmen centerpieces made by craftsmen from Cokato, Irvin said.

At each place setting was a menu listing choices of breakfast entrees from which the residents selected. They could choose either one egg, waffle and bacon; two waffles and bacon; or two eggs, toast and bacon. They also could choose between cranberry or orange juice. Sliced bananas were served Dec. 13, but the kind of fruit varies from Tuesday to Tuesday. The residents also have unlimited amounts of coffee.

One of the residents has a wheat allergy so her waffles were made with different batter, Irvin said.

After all the residents were served their selections and their coffee cups were topped off, Irvin and Semke joined them at the table to feast on the deluxe breakfast.

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