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Home Care in Claiborne, LA

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Claiborne, LA is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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Home Care Claiborne, LA

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in Claiborne, LA. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in Claiborne, LA work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 In-Home Care Claiborne, LA

Types of In-home Care in Claiborne, LA

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

 Elderly Care Claiborne, LA

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
 Senior Care Claiborne, LA

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Respite Care Claiborne, LA

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings
 Caregivers Claiborne, LA

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in Claiborne, LA

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Home Care Claiborne, LA
  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client's individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor's appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior's needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

 In-Home Care Claiborne, LA

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Claiborne, LA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

 Elderly Care Claiborne, LA

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Claiborne, LA gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

 Senior Care Claiborne, LA

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

  • Veteran's Benefits: Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
  • Private Insurance: Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
  • Life Insurance: Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Claiborne,LA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

03

Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

Latest News in Claiborne, LA

East Jefferson property transfers for Dec. 2-7, 2022. See a list of home and other sales

Below is a compilation of properties sold in East Jefferson Parish from Dec. 2-7, 2022. Data is compiled from public records.EAST JEFFERSONTransfers for Dec. 2-7, 2022HARAHANCarolyn Drive 301: Ida B. LeBlanc to E3 Investments 6. LLC, $220,000.Hickory Ave. 1428: Stephen R. Pitard and Marie C. P. Pitard to 1428 Hic Ave. LLC, $475,000.Roseland Park subdivision, lot 21, square 7: Tracy O. McCready to Ronald Pilman and Michael Pilman, $570,000.Rosethorne subdivision, lot 1, square ...

Below is a compilation of properties sold in East Jefferson Parish from Dec. 2-7, 2022. Data is compiled from public records.

EAST JEFFERSON

Transfers for Dec. 2-7, 2022

HARAHAN

Carolyn Drive 301: Ida B. LeBlanc to E3 Investments 6. LLC, $220,000.

Hickory Ave. 1428: Stephen R. Pitard and Marie C. P. Pitard to 1428 Hic Ave. LLC, $475,000.

Roseland Park subdivision, lot 21, square 7: Tracy O. McCready to Ronald Pilman and Michael Pilman, $570,000.

Rosethorne subdivision, lot 1, square 2: Total Environmental Solutions Inc. to Magnolia Water Utility Operating Co. LLC, $100 and other good and valuable consideration.

S. Clearview Parkway 832, Unit 226: Denise P. Rivas to Chad B. Naccari and Hailey Morris, $145,000.

JEFFERSON

Andover St. 2709: 1310 Claiborne LLC to Collin Weyenberg and Katherine Johnson, $399,000.

Claiborne Drive 1300: Lion Development Group LLC to Itanhem Investment LLC, $80,000.

David Blvd. 44: Emilie Walton Reeks to Mason W. Coats and Dakota J. Coats, $265,000.

Sam Lenox St. 2809-11: Lion Development Group LLC to Itanhem Investment LLC, $80,000.

Tucker Ave. 516: Gladys M. Waguespack and Benoit J. Waguespack Estate to Jose A. Serna and Kathy Serna, $65,000.

Vinet Ave. 336: Michael A. Trosclair to Joan F. Jensen, $312,500.

KENNER

Avant Garde Circle 121, Unit 121, building 13: Charles E. Spahr IV to Rianna J. Breaud, $113,500.

Boimare Ave. 15: David J. Mendieta to Cesia J. Reyes and Oscar A. Reyes, $190,000.

Dogwood Drive 119: SBM irrevocable trust to Z & Sons LLC, $190,000.

Florida Ave. 3632: Salvador Faia and Mary Faia Living Trust to Henken Properties LLC, $425,000.

Hudson St. 1614: Marshall J. Webre III to Heather B. Webre, donation, no value stated.

Kentucky Ave. 2603: Randy P. Wood to Luciana B. Wood, donation, no value stated.

Louisiana Trace subdivision, lot 24, square B: Adriana's Properties Inc. to SBM irrevocable trust, $200,000.

Marietta St. 3037: Bienes Inmuebles LLC to Silva Investments LLC, $45,000.

Maryland Ave. 1201: Matthew A. Britton and Ashlee M. D. Britton to Lilian Hernandez, $196,000.

McKinley St. 59: Jeffrey R. Charrier and Yvette T. Charrier to Leo E. Broders III and Stephanie C. Broders, $465,000.

Palmetto Drive 119: SBM irrevocable trust to Chad Landry and Bryan Pisani Living Trust, $365,000.

Platt St. 21: James W. Crosby Jr. and Sylvia Z. Crosby to Raymond Fuenzalida Jr., and Mary G. Fuenzalida, $205,000.

Vintage Drive 924: Oscar L. Flores to Sayda Nunez, donation, no value stated.

METAIRIE

Beau Lac Lane 4716: George A. Runyan Jr. to Moya R. Carroll, $208,575.

Beverly Garden Drive 1241: Adele Scardino Guccione, Elizabeth Guccione Roppolo and Joseph L. Guccione to A-1 Property Investors LLC, $232,000.

Bissonet Drive 3405: Sean J. Bauer to Jordan J. Kissinger, $243,000.

Boutall St. 5612: Succession of Lisa M. Lotz to AMA Investment Group LLC, $130,000.

Camel St. 4526-28: Patrick R. Scariano and Elizabeth B. Scariano to Catherine A. Heusel, $284,000.

Charleston Park 129: Marcia Balkan and William R. Gaertner to James H. Reily, $467,000.

Cleary Ave. 2305, Unit 101: Sandra R. Chatman to Total Assurance Inc., $87,000.

Edenborn Ave. 3030, Unit 213: Rebecca A. Root to Lindsey V. Pham, $75,000.

Farnham Place subdivision, lot 7, portion of lots 5, 9: Jean Melancon, Laura M. Smith and succession of Laura S. Melancon to DWK Investments LLC, $1,300,100.

Folse Drive 4708: 4708 Folse Dr LLC to Robert G. Voigt and Janice L. Voigt, $545,000.

Green Acres subdivision, lot 5, square 7: Melissa A. Phillips to Patrick M. Morton II, $255,000.

Hilton Drive 4502: Dealty Property Solutions LLC to Kevin J. Desrochers, $100 and other good and valuable consideration.

Kent Ave. 1120: Dealty Property Solutions LLC and Marrone Investments LLC to Kevin J. Desrochers, $100 and other good and valuable consideration.

Loraine St. 5512: Marrone Investments LLC to Renee F. Wallis, $225,000.

Lynn Park subdivision, lot 53A, square 5: Joseph O'Neill to Lori L. Payne, donation, no value stated.

N. Arnoult Road 3801: Deborah S. Roche to Amie L. Scully, $540,000.

N. Dilton Ave. 712: Veshundra Sanxton and Sidney Nicole Sanxton First Party Special Needs Trust to Veshunn Sanxton, $7,652.

N. Woodlawn Ave. 212: Roland E. Williams to Hestia Properties LLC, $150,000.

Nouveau Lane East 28: Jeffrey Talbot to Jeffrey Talbot and Alisha M. Hopkins, donation, no value stated.

Nursery Ave. 234: Matthew Brennan to Heather Trahan, donation, no value state.

Oaklawn Drive 55: William T. Ivison and Mary C. Ivison to Bancroft Property Investments LLC, $357,500.

Pontchartrain Gardens subdivision, portion of ground: Parma Ladder 14 LLC to Metairie Ladder 14 LLC, no value stated.

Prairie St. 4416: Chad W. Cosgrove and Summer D. Cosgrove to Classic Vending LLC, $165,000.

Prairie St. 4436: Marilyn M. Sauls to Mark S. Wainwright, $312,710.

Richland Ave. 4508: Succession of Ouida F. Prieur to James J. Kendall Jr. and Lynn L. Kendall, $410,000.

Sena Drive 1105: Ian F. Jones and Linda S. Munch Jones to Kevin B. Cuyler and Erin M. Cuyler, $410,000.

Smith Drive 552: Charles W. Richard to Kaitlyn M. Richard, donation, no value stated.

W. William David Parkway 225: James E. Hritz and Carol Gremillion Hritz to Edward A. Rodrigue Jr. and Cynthia Coogan Rodrigue, $100 and other good and valuable consideration.

Whitney Place 2724, Unit 327: Succession of Joseph C. Williams to Leslie M. Bertucci, $115,000.

RIVER RIDGE

Bellview St. 422: Succession of Eugene A. Barilleaux and Vivian Pradat Barilleaux to Brian A. Cuny and Mary B. Cuny, $260,000.

Cypress Bend condominium, Unit A: Robin L. Simonson to Ralph E. Sacks, $78,000.

Valerie Ave. 132: James W. Chaffin III to Robert P. Schumacher, $365,000.

Former Claiborne Theater in Treme collapses; building had been blighted for decades

A historic building partially collapsed in Treme this week, temporarily closing down one lane of traffic near Claiborne and Ursulines avenues.The building at 1031 Claiborne Avenue has been blighted for decades, but the front of the building detached from the structure on Wednesday causing a par...

A historic building partially collapsed in Treme this week, temporarily closing down one lane of traffic near Claiborne and Ursulines avenues.

The building at 1031 Claiborne Avenue has been blighted for decades, but the front of the building detached from the structure on Wednesday causing a partial collapse. City inspectors say the building could cave in even further.

Brandi Williams, who's mother Tracy Williams owns the building, said they want to turn the site into a hotel, but city records show multiple recent code and maintenance violations, including “demolition by neglect” in 2016.

“We’ve been trying to get a permit from the city to do front-end work, because the building is made of steel on the inside, all the steel framing,” Brandi Williams said.

In April, Tracy Williams filed a request for a permit to repair the property. She submitted several photos showing the condition of the building, and wrote to the city, “Building has a bulge in it. It has to come down and be reframed immediately. It is a hazard.”

The Williams family said they were met with months of red tape before the partial collapse.

“I don’t know if it was wind damage, wind damage with the rain," Brandi Williams said. "But when it’s sitting for this long and you’re not able to do anything with it, their expectations happened. It failed. It should have failed. That’s what they [the city] wanted to happen.”

The building first opened in 1913 as the open-air Harlequin Theater, with shells paving the floor. It reopened on Christmas Day in 1938 as the Clabon Theater.

Historian Jack Stewart co-authored the book “There’s One In Your Neighborhood: The Lost Movie Theaters of New Orleans.” The book details how 1031 North Claiborne evolved from segregated theater to a Black-only theater to a movie set, a disco, and a church.

“As an air-dome it was just kind of a low-end theater. You didn’t know when you were going to get rained on,” Stewart said. “It kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger until it, you know, had a balcony and everything in it.”

For historians like Stewart, it’s a tribute to what once was.

The building has been vacant for some time. There were no reports of any injuries.

Work on traffic choke point in Covington will soon become more visible

It may not look like it to passersby, but work is indeed underway on a long-awaited remedy to one of St. Tammany Parish’s most notorious traffic choke points: the two-lane bridge on U.S. 190 over the Bogue Falaya River in Covington.A state project valued at about $30 million and involving the construction of a new northbound U.S. 190 bridge began months ago with preliminary work to relocate utility lines under the riverbed.That part of the project, which involves installing a new water line, hit a snag when workers struck...

It may not look like it to passersby, but work is indeed underway on a long-awaited remedy to one of St. Tammany Parish’s most notorious traffic choke points: the two-lane bridge on U.S. 190 over the Bogue Falaya River in Covington.

A state project valued at about $30 million and involving the construction of a new northbound U.S. 190 bridge began months ago with preliminary work to relocate utility lines under the riverbed.

That part of the project, which involves installing a new water line, hit a snag when workers struck an abandoned piling during the boring process, Mayor Mark Johnson said.

That issue has been mostly resolved, clearing the way for more visible work to begin. Although the actual construction is being done under a state project, Johnson said the city is responsible for moving the utility lines to clear the way for the new bridge.

“The next phase is going to start soon,”’ Johnson said. “We’ll then be able to see the actual construction.”

The project, which is expected to take about three years to complete, includes the construction of a second new span across the river. The new bridge will be built next to the existing one, which will then be converted to a two-lane southbound span. The existing bridge is scheduled to be replaced in a later phase of the project.

The project also includes expansion of U.S. 190 to four lanes from La. 25 to La. 437 with roundabouts at key interchanges, according to the state Department of Transportation and Development.

The 1950s vintage bridge over the Bogue Falaya has long been a source of frustration for Covington area motorists. It forms a chokepoint where three lanes of northbound U.S. 190 funnel into one. Rush hour traffic frequently backs up for miles along U.S. 190, due in large part to the outdated and overburdened overpass.

Residents and local officials have long clamored for a new bridge where the busy highway meets the Bogue Falaya River, an area known as Claiborne Hill. An estimated 70,000 vehicles a day traverse the bridge.

City officials have also noted that the project takes on added significance because U.S. 190 is a key hurricane evacuation route.

DOTD has said other phases of the effort to improve traffic flow in the area include:

¿Por qué despreciamos las lechugas de hielo?

La mirada de Lúculo | Crónicas gastronómicasAdemás de un sutil sabor, la iceberg tiene sus virtudes, una de ellas es la rigidez y ese cuerpo compacto que la hace utilizable y recurrente en la cocina¿Por qué despreciamos las lechugas de hielo?El legendario crítico del "New York Times" del pasado siglo, Craig Claiborne, amigo de los mejores cocineros, era considerado un esteta. Sureño, procedente de una clase acomodada, en su casa cocinaban criada...

La mirada de Lúculo | Crónicas gastronómicas

Además de un sutil sabor, la iceberg tiene sus virtudes, una de ellas es la rigidez y ese cuerpo compacto que la hace utilizable y recurrente en la cocina

¿Por qué despreciamos las lechugas de hielo?

El legendario crítico del "New York Times" del pasado siglo, Craig Claiborne, amigo de los mejores cocineros, era considerado un esteta. Sureño, procedente de una clase acomodada, en su casa cocinaban criadas negras y en ella no se había disipado del todo aquello que el viento se quiso llevar en la famosa novela de Margaret Mitchell. Respetado con la misma intensidad que era temido, el atildado Claiborne al final de su carrera chocó con sus lectores que no le perdonaron un artículo escrito sobre una cena de 4.000 dólares de 1975 en el pequeño restaurante parisino "Chez Denis", coincidiendo con la profunda crisis económica de mediados de esa década. Recibió entonces más de mil cartas airadas recordándole que millones de personas pasaban hambre en el mundo. El menú, la verdad, era un disparate superlativo: caviar Beluga, seguido de tres sopas, ostras, langosta, una tarta provenzal con salmón, gallina de Bresse y sorbetes, etcétera. A continuación venían los exclusivos ortolanos, pato salvaje, filete de ternera en croute de hojaldre, acompañado de trufas negras; puré de alcachofas, hígado de oca en áspic, pechuga de becada, faisán frío con avellanas, y de postre, charola de fresas, pera Alma y una île flottante. Todo ello acompañado de Château d’Yquem de 1928 y, en los postres, un madeira de 1835.

No es de extrañar que Claiborne detestase las populares lechugas iceberg y les declarase la guerra desde el primer momento. Para él y para la cocinera Alice Waters, que solía poner ramitas de tomillo y otras hierbas sobre las mesas del restaurante Chez Panise, se trataba de una lechuga para productores, transportistas, almacenistas y vendedores, no adecuada para los consumidores. Según el pensamiento extendido entre los expertos, la única baza a favor de la llamada lechuga iceberg ha sido la de la durabilidad. Pero, al igual que su homónimo glacial, tiene muchas más cosas debajo de esa capa superficial gélida. No es precisamente insípida: pruebe a abrir el paladar mientras la muerde y aprecie esa dulzura limpia debajo del crujido acuoso, de las hojas y los tallos internos, esa amargura tostada que la caracteriza, y se dará cuenta de que más allá de la durabilidad no resulta un bocado del todo despreciable.

Sin embargo, hay productos con mala prensa, y la lechuga iceberg es uno de ellos, pese a la aceptación general en los mercados, sobremanera en Estados Unidos. Para su legión de detractores, la iceberg es el avatar de la gastronomía mercantil, una burla, el poliéster de las verduras. Se distingue por sus hojas interiores gruesas que se convierten, a medida que crecen, en laberintos fractales, se pliegan y retroceden sobre sí mismas hasta formar un cuerpo compacto. Fue desarrollada por W. Atlee Burpee & Company a fines del siglo XVIII, y durante los siguientes tres cuartos de centuria pasó a ser la reina indiscutible de las ensaladas verdes estadounidenses. Su nombre se refiere a los lechos de hielo en los que se transportaba en los años veinte y treinta, y forma parte un mito que probablemente se originó con un agricultor de la era de la Depresión, que fundó lo que ahora es Fresh Ex-press, uno de los distribuidores de lechuga más grandes del país. A partir de los años setenta la iceberg cayó en desgracia, empezaron a competir con ella la rúcula, la mezcla de hojas mesclun, la lechuga romana y la col rizada, que la han suplantado en gran medida como las verduras preferidas para las ensaladas domésticas. Jamás he entendido el desprecio por la iceberg y la adoración, en cambio, que existe por esas bolsas rebosantes de hojas insípidas, lavadas hasta la extenuación, que la gente compra en los supermercados. Una ensalada verde requiere imaginación pero también frescura. Si esta última no se encuentra en una lechuga iceberg resulta impensable hallarla en las hojas desnaturalizadas de una mesclun de supermercado. Lo mejor es buscar las hortalizas de los pequeños productores de cercanía, lo que en la actualidad se llama de forma algo imprecisa, el kilómetro cero.

La iceberg tiene, al menos, una ventaja que el consumidor sabrá aprovechar. Es esa rigidez que significa que se puede conservar crujiente incluso en las condiciones más extremas, combinándola con guacamole dentro de un taco o en un sandwich de carne cualquiera. La lechuga del hielo lo aguanta todo, solo por eso es admirable. Por su vigor, textura y el sabor sutil, sus hojas merecen aplicaciones más amplias en la cocina. Se pueden, por ejemplo, escalfar, asar en la parrilla, saltear en mantequilla como los puerros de temporada, o incluso sirven para decorar una sopa fría. La iceberg también es buena para encurtir. Es como si su rigidez estuviese hecha para un baño salado, una vez despojada de sus hojas exteriores y sumergidos su corazón en cuartos en la correspondiente salmuera elaborada con vinagre de manzana, sal marina gruesa, azúcar, granos de pimienta negra, y ajos pelados ligeramente machacados. Se trata de un encurtido rápido para consumir después del primer o segundo día, y no dejarlo mucho tiempo para que no pierda la textura. Acompañando, o junto a unos pepinillos en vinagre, resulta un encurtido recurrente y práctico.

He querido empezar el año con un producto despreciado cuyo desprecio, sin embargo, no se justifica.

Local Schools Set for League Play Next Week

First published in the Dec. 29 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.The St. Francis High School varsity boys’ basketball team won its sixth consecutive matchup against intracity rival La Cañada, 48-44, in a nonleague road game, as senior captain Jackson Mosley posted a double-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and one block.Junior Greg Gazarian poured in 10 points with one steal, senior Brandin Dantzler registered eight points, nine rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist, an...

First published in the Dec. 29 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.

The St. Francis High School varsity boys’ basketball team won its sixth consecutive matchup against intracity rival La Cañada, 48-44, in a nonleague road game, as senior captain Jackson Mosley posted a double-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and one block.Junior Greg Gazarian poured in 10 points with one steal, senior Brandin Dantzler registered eight points, nine rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist, and senior George Tupy tallied seven points and seven rebounds. Senior captain Luke McGrath recorded four points, two rebounds, one block and one steal, junior Ethan Childs finished with two points, six rebounds and one steal, and senior Kj Fulgencio had two points and one steal.The Gold Knights (11-2 overall) will finish competing in the Classic at Damien this weekend before hosting El Camino Real High of Woodland Hills in a nonleague game on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. SFHS will open Mission League action by hosting Crespi High of Encino on Friday, Jan. 6.

FLINTIRDGE PREP

The Wolves took a break from Prep League action and narrowly lost a nonleague game against visiting La Cañada, 47-44.Senior Geoffrey Stetson produced a team-high 13 points while senior Theo Kuo poured in 11 points. Senior Caleb Bowne scored nine points, junior Henry Morrison registered seven points and junior Will Bigby had four points.Flintridge Prep previously routed host Rio Hondo Prep in Arcadia in a league game, 85-33, as senior Jack Jones posted a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Stetson poured in 13 points while junior Steven Ng drained four 3-pointers. Bowne sank three 3-pointers, Bigby scored nine points and Kuo recorded eight points. Senior Marvin Furuta registered six points, senior Chris Fung finished with three points and freshman Owen Willingham tallied two points.The Wolves (9-4 overall, 2-0 in league) will finish competing in the South Pasadena tournament this weekend. Following the tournament, Flintridge Prep will be idle until it visits Price High in Los Angeles for a nonleague game on Saturday, Jan. 7.

POLYTECHNIC

The Panthers recently competed in the Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic last week and finished with a 2-1 record.Poly posted a 64-56 victory over Bishop Diego High of Santa Barbara last Wednesday. Justin Wang racked up 20 points while Justin Odibo registered 18 points. Cole Mallinger poured in 10 points and Bobby Hall scored six points.The Panthers crushed Channel Islands, 71-39, in a tournament game last Tuesday, as Odibo amassed 24 points. Mallinger recorded 12 points, Wang poured in 10 points and Nicolas Cardenas scored eight points. Hall finished with seven points, AB Shorter had four points, and Justyce Icart and freshman Diego Scholze each tallied three points.Poly previously lost its tournament opener against Dos Pueblos High of Goleta, 61-47. Odibo poured in 11 points, Wang produced nine points and Icart scored seven points. Cardenas and Scholze each finished with six points, Mallinger tallied four points, and sophomore Jack Lentz and Hall each had two points.The Panthers (9-4 overall) will compete in the Huntington Park tournament starting next week before hosting Rio Hondo Prep of Arcadia in their Prep League opener on Friday, Jan. 13.

LA SALLE

The Lancers narrowly lost a nonleague game at El Camino Real, 65-64, last Wednesday, as Ryan Hajjar amassed 36 points, including seven 3-pointers, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.Omar Gonzalez registered 13 points, three boards, one steal and one assist while Emmitt Claiborne poured in 12 points with seven rebounds, one block, one steal and one assist. Anthony Gibbs finished with two points, three boards and two steals while Gio Guardado tallied one point, two rebounds, one steal and one assist. Jonah Thaxton collected three boards, Collis Chu and Isaiah Carrillo each had one assist, and Athan Darlas had one rebound.La Salle (4-7 overall) will open Camino Real League action at Paraclete High in Lancaster on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m.

MARANATHA

The Minutemen recently competed in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas last week and finished with a 1-2 record.Maranatha defeated Denver South High of Colorado, 59-53, but lost a pair of tournament games to Dominguez High of Compton, 63-59, and De La Salle North Catholic High of Portland, Oregon, 63-57. Individual statistics were not reported to the Outlook.The Minutemen (7-5 overall) will open Olympic League action at Village Christian High in Sun Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m.

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