Last updated: August 24. 2013 8:54PM - 257 Views

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BLUFFTON — April Dorman isn’t afraid to crack a joke.

“We’re all going to have dates for the evening,” she said, announcing the recipe of the day was Date Cake. Dorman is director of resident activities at Richland Manor, and nine residents gathered around last week for Cooking Club.

The group meets once or twice a week at the nursing home, with Dorman leading them through a recipe. It’s much more than just watching her making something. First, the residents are encouraged to submit favorite recipes or memories of something their mothers used to make, and Dorman will research it.

That’s how the Date Cake was chosen last week. The resident didn’t have the recipe, but she remembered her mother using buttermilk. Dorman searched for a cake recipe, shared today, featuring that ingredient.

Dorman wheeled out a cart with ingredients, and she moved quickly around the long table where the Cooking Club members were seated. She made sure everyone had a turn with helping, from cracking eggs to stirring the batter.

“I like to act like we don’t have electricity here,” she said. “I never use a mixer. I make them do the real deal.”

Dorman has worked at Richland Manor about a year. She raised seven children.

“The whole baking thing, it was something we could do together,” she said, explaining they’d often give their results away. “I love to bake. I was blessed with a wonderful family. I had good kids, but baking made more smiles.”

She was a swim coach prior to coming to Richland Manor.

“I was ready for a career change,” she said. “I just truly look forward to being here. … They give to me just as much as I give to them. They’re family. It’s easy to just connect.”

What can be difficult is seeing people start to slip mentally or physically, but Dorman said she likes to think of it this way: Little by little, they’re getting ready to go to heaven.

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