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Monday, May 27, 2024

Professor hopes to teach pureed recipes online and in Spanish

A UF associate professor is hoping to teach more people how to make pureed hamburger and french toast.

Wendy Dahl created the Pureed Foods program to educate people on how to make pureed food for those with cancer, Parkinson’s disease and dysphagia, all of which make swallowing more difficult. Pureed foods are created by mashing, grinding or chopping food.

She’s hoping to raise about $15,000 to expand her program to be online and in Spanish, Dahl said.

She came up with the idea for the workshops about pureeing food when she was in graduate school, she said. While giving a presentation on fiber, a member of the audience asked her if she had considered those who couldn’t swallow.

“With pureed foods, we want people to eat,” Dahl said. “If they don’t eat, they become malnourished, end up in the hospital or worse.”

Now, she teaches workshops on making tasty pureed food throughout Florida, she said.

“It’s like a traveling road show,” Dahl said.

At the start of the workshop, Dahl lectures about how to make the food, said Amanda Ford, a 27-year-old UF nutritional science graduate student. During the second half, audience members create their own puree. Most people make mashed potatoes or oatmeal.

“The program gives people the chance to experiment and try new approaches while learning how to make food for their loved ones,” Ford said.

Dahl said expanding her program would allow those outside the state to learn about the possibilities for pureeing food. The online workshops might resemble cooking shows, in which she’ll teach some of her recipes and have viewers try pureeing on their own.

She said she hopes she can one day offer certification for preparing pureed foods through her course.

Dahl wants people to know pureed food doesn’t have to be boring, she said.

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“One thing most people don’t realize is that anything can be pureed, even alcoholic drinks,” Dahl said.

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