38 madeleine biscuits against dysphagia

Mauro Uliassi co-authored a book with recipes that give taste and joy to those who find it hard to swallow

12-07-2016

Meat lasagne in the style of the Marche, one of the 38 recipes in the book "Nutrirsi con gusto", by authors Mauro Uliassi and Paolo Piaggesi, publisher Fondazione Serena Onlus for Centro Clinico Nemo in Milan (for enquiries and purchases +39.02.91433773 and camilla.pietrantonio@centrocliniconemo.it). The preparations were designed for those who suffer from dysphagia and find it hard to swallow food and liquids

Yesterday we mentioned the efforts of Centro Clinico Nemo in Milan in giving dignity to patients suffering from neuromuscular diseases such as ALS, SMA or dystrophies. Among the most important aspects of the project, we recalled the solutions for those suffering from dysphagia, the difficulty in swallowing food and liquids, with a quick mention to Mauro Uliassi and Paolo Piaggesi’s book “Nutrirsi di gusto”. What is it about? We speak directly with Uliassi, chef at the homonymous restaurant in Senigallia (Ancona).

«The project started thanks to my friend Alberto Fontana [treasurer at Aisla, Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Laterale Amiotrofica]. Because dysphagia is a big, ugly thing, which doesn’t just affect those who suffer from neuromuscular diseases, but also from many other diseases too, such as ictus. It involves patients and families that, on top of the issues with difficult swallowing, must take care of other motor, logistic or even economic difficulties on a weekly basis».

A detail of the book cover

A detail of the book cover

With Paolo Piaggesi, who was for many years in Uliassi’s kitchen staff and now teaches at Senigallia’s catering school, and a team of doctors and nutritionists (Savina BramucciMichela Coccia and Massimiliano Petrelli), the two Michelin-star chef gave life to a book that was designed for them above all: «It’s a group of recipes that can be made even by those who don’t have special skills or culinary culture. These dishes are rather simple, and you can prepare them in little time».

Simple, fast, good. The common thread of the 38 recipes, almost always cooked completely and then blended or thickened, is reproducing as faithfully as possible a known and definite flavour: «We wanted to give back old flavours to those suffering from dysphagia, from the days when they could eat without any difficulty, their Proustian madeleine biscuits. This is why the Prawn cocktail had to taste exactly like Prawn Coctkail, and the same goes for the Meatballs with fresh tomato sauce, the Boiled turkey breast with green sauce or the Trifle. Those suffering from this often have to do with horrendous products, dishes that are roughly blended, menus that don’t show attention to the sick. Because patients should not also have to be ‘patient’ and stand all sorts of things, especially when they could get some comfort from food».

Mauro Uliassi with part of this team at Banchina di levante 6 in Senigallia (Ancona)

Mauro Uliassi with part of this team at Banchina di levante 6 in Senigallia (Ancona)

The book starts with a long introduction explaining dysphagia («which is not an illness but a symptom, a sign of some diseases»), its effect on neuromuscular diseases, the postures one must adopt, the characteristics and texture food should have (for instance the painful «Eliminate from the diet every dish that includes different textures, such as soups with broth»). 38 recipes follow, each indicating calories (the percentages of proteins, fats and carbohydrates), product seasonality, ingredients, allowed variations on the recipe and the necessary tools to cook them (no roner ovens, siphons or professional cooking tools).

These recipes are beautiful, good and aromatic.

See also
The dignity of swallowing by Gabriele Zanatta


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Gabriele Zanatta

born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, he's been working as a co-author and coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since the first edition (2007) and is a contributor for several on and offline magazines. twitter @gabrielezanatt