A Caregiver and Her Cookbook: How one woman’s caregiving journey inspired a cookbook for dysphagia care.

“It flipped the whole household upside down. None of our meal times are quote unquote normal…it's totally dysfunctional chaos.”

This is the real and raw experience shared during this interview with host Theresa Richard and Diane Wolff, dysphagia cookbook author and caregiver for her mother with dementia and impaired swallowing. This experience led Diane to write Essential Puree – The A to Z Guidebook: 67 Delicious Recipes for the Dysphagia Diet & Soft Food Diet, a cookbook addressing this overlooked aspect of care, including tips on simplifying recipes, cleanup, and food storage for families dealing with time constraints or challenges. 

In this episode of the Swallow Your Pride Podcast, Theresa and Diane Wolff discuss the caregiver’s journey and the need for more resources and solutions for loved ones living with dysphagia. From ditching food molds to piping puree onto colorful plates, Diane shares several of her recommendations to promote better dining experiences for everyone impacted by dementia and swallowing disorders.

If Med SLPs can agree on anything, it’s that food is more than sustenance. It’s a way to connect, share love, and find joy in life. This episode dives into all of that and more with vulnerability and forward-thinking.


The free downloads of Tools for the Kitchen and Science of Puree: How to Thicken Food and Beverages are excellent sources for beginners. In the bookstore. On Instagram @essentialpuree, Diane features recipes from the major demographics of Florida, all the kitchens represented.

For a limited time only, all 10 eBooks of the Essential Puree Library for $20. These will be collector's items, as they will no longer be available when Diane publishes the new Collected Works edition.

Listen to more episodes


The importance of nutrition for seniors with swallowing disorders [00:03:08]
Challenges of feeding a child with a feeding disorder [00:04:30]
Creating easy and nutritious pureed meals [00:05:25]
The importance of atmosphere and using pretty plates [00:10:07]
Using a xanthan gum thickener for food consistency [00:11:18]
Cooking the same recipe for the patient and the family [00:13:33]
The nutritional status of the speaker's mother [00:21:30]
Developing a line of pureed foods for hospitals and home healthcare [00:22:50]
Patient and caregiver education on pureed foods and tools for the kitchen [00:27:07]
Boosting the immune system during COVID [00:31:34]
Collaboration between speech pathologists and other professionals [00:32:17]
The caregiver's perspective [00:33:35]

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