Wesley Heights residents share recipes and ideas

Recently, a group of six Wesley Heights residents and Chef Richard Scaife, met early to mix up a custom Snickerdoodle recipe for their baking club.

“This recipe was one of my son’s favorites. My son is in his 70s, so I’ve been making Snickerdoodles for 70 years,” said Florence Chicos, resident at Wesley Heights.

The residents meet regularly to share their recipes and ideas. Chef Scaife supplies the ingredients, equipment, and space to make the baking process easier and more accessible for the residents. Once the mixing of the batter is complete and the cookies are placed on their sheets, Scaife puts them in the oven to bake. “Once everything is made, I package up the cookies, go to the residents apartments and bring them what they made,” said Scaife.

The Baker’s Bakers club began as an initiative to reignite a shared passion for baking, by bringing people together and celebrating their heritage and traditions. “You name it and I must’ve tried it once,” said Chicos, “I used to love making wedding cakes. I made all of my boys’ wedding cakes and my nieces and nephews.”

Many residents grew up in households where they learned cooking and baking skills at a young age, provided their own families with special desserts or simply enjoyed baking as a hobby.

“When I was 13, I was cooking for the family — I would make dinner. I was about the only one who would make a dessert. I would make pudding cake-just simple stuff,” said Libby Floroski, resident at Wesley Heights.

What makes this baking program so special is that it allows residents the opportunity to bake for fun. “I’ve always liked to bake and through the holidays I baked cookies. I made a platter for each person and in order to do that — you had to make a lot of cookies. So, I would start baking three weeks before the holiday. Everybody had a favorite cookie,” said Floroski.

Residents can enjoy the process of making cakes, bread and cookies with others and not be overwhelmed by the prepping, organizing and cleaning that goes along with it.

The Wesley Village Campus is located at 580 Long Hill Avenue in Shelton and includes Crosby Commons Independent/Assisted Living Community, Wesley Heights Independent/Assisted Living Community, Lifestyle Transitions Assisted Living/Memory Support Community, and Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center. The campus is owned and operated by UMH, a local, mission-based, not-for-profit organization.