Know any strong tasting foods that will make the elderly want to eat?

Our sense of smell and taste grows less strong with age. For many elderly, this leads to a loss of appetite; food is just bland. It may also lead to the elderly oversalting or oversugaring their food. Such diminishing taste, and with it diminishing appetite, is one of the reasons the elderly are often malnourished.

The general advice is to try new cuisines, and to add more herbs and spices. For my aging father, I am looking for condiments and foodstuffs with a strong, distinctive taste that he could add to sandwiches and meals, in a easy way.

So far we discovered:

Dried swiss cheese. A very strong taste/smell and easy to sprinkle over many dishes.

Miso paste. A Japanese staple that gets its strong taste from a bacterial culture. Can be used as a soup base, or to be spread on a sandwich in combination with another savoury topping.

Does anyone else have a recommendation?

Nutritional yeast mebbe?

Adding a shot of something acidic, like a splash of balsamic vinegar or a squirt of lemon juice, can bring out more flavors in a lot of dishes.

Mix it up with lime juice (for Tex-Mex flavor) to add variety.

Likewise Marmite, a yeast extract, has a strong and distinctive taste, but not everyone likes it. (That’s an understatement.;)) German Vitam-R is similar.

My dad loved horseradish his whole life and was known to almost eat it by the spoonful. When I introduced him to wasabi (the cheap dyed green fake stuff), he also enjoyed it greatly.

I’ve got those yeast flakes, they’re a cheese substitute for vegans. They don’t have a strong taste though.

Marmite and Wasabi, of course!

What kind of entry-level hot sauces do elderly like? We don’t know the fifference between tabasco and shiracha and what else, and I cant’t buy several just to try out.

Also the swiss Cenovis and aussie vegemite.

Beef consomme (Campbell’s brand is popular in the US) makes a strongly flavored nutritious drink.

But you have to watch the salt load in all those products, so for those elderly folks with congestive heart failure it might not suit.

What about stinky stuff like herring in sour cream or sausages n sauerkraut? Any other particular ethnic-type items that would be comfort food?

If you can find it, look for Yeo’s Sweet Chili Sauce.

It’s a great place to start. I’ve used it for an elder with success!

(They also have a hot one if it’s not strong enough!)

If he is better at drinking than eating you can sneak a lot of nutrition in to shakes, sweet or savoury. They sell tins of powder especially for this purpose but a plain protein powder isn’t a bad base to add to.

If he is really having trouble with food a little cannabis can help a lot if it is legal in your jurisdiction. I recently joked with a friend with late stage cancer who was hesitant to eat a brownie that it was why family sized pizzas and home delivery were invented. She declared it a miracle later.

For sandwiches etc there are any number of pickles, relishes and chutneys depending on his tastes, many go great with cheese. Roasted garlic makes mashed potato interesting and caramelised onion goes with a lot of meat, I add a bit of chilli for zing.

My dad also liked blue veined cheese ( with sweet jams/jellies) and limburger cheese. Those have a really strong taste, are cheap, and a little goed a long way.

Thank you for the recommendations, these are great!

I just remembered Ajvar It is lovely stuff and comes in hot and mild versions.

Red wine vinegar adds a nice sharpness and zing to salad dressings or sauces. Mixed with a bit of brown sugar and ketchup it makes a nice meatloaf topping to spice up a traditional comfort food.

Parmesan cheese. The real kind, not the dry powdered version.

Indian condiments like mango chutney and lime pickle are really strong (especially lime pickle…mmm, I love that stuff). They can go on sandwiches or alongside most anything.

You can add Dijon and sugar to regular oil and vinegar for a tasty salad dressing!

Smoked Spanish Paprika - both sweet and hot types available.

bubbie’s pickles. and drink the pickle juice!

white mountain bulgarian yogurt.

both are verrry strong in flavor and both are active probiotic fermented foods. good for the belly.

eta: second, anything from an Indian restaurant.