Former corporate chef, wife and mother Tara Anderson started baby and toddler food company Half Pint Palates in March, to give other Dallas parents an alternative to processed, jarred baby food. But right away she knew she had more customers to serve.
The CIA grad had watched her sick, elderly father failing to eat anything of real substance in his last years, and she knew she could help the aging population by making well-balanced and flavorful pureed meals for them.
“There are people with dementia who still have strong flavor and smell memories,” Anderson says compassionately. “Seniors who have lost their teeth or are sick and have a loss of appetite find it hard to eat.” With this in mind, she added meals for the aging to her menu.
Chef Tara Anderson infuses global flavors into her recipes, such as chile verde and tamarind and honey “O’s.”
The meals, comprising purees or stews, are made with seasonal ingredients sourced from local and sustainable producers. Anderson balances vegetables — think organic leafy greens, thin-skinned veggies and legumes — with fruit, pasture-raised meats and eggs.
“My meal plans are well-balanced,” she says. “I use lots of whole grains, limited meats and plant-based proteins. It’s a natural fit for seniors.”
Anderson infuses global flavors into her recipes, including chile verde, which helps introduce heat gradually to tender taste buds, or tamarind and honey “O’s,” a flavorful twist on the popular Cheerios snack. The fruit-based purees, such as cinnamon-spiced zucchini and banana, can double as popsicles for toddlers when frozen.
“It’s great for working parents who don’t have the time or parents who don’t like to cook but want their kids to eat good food,” she says. “Not everybody has that passion to cook.”
Customers can order à la carte or a full meal package, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks ($17.50 per day for babies or $27.50 per day for the aging supplement). There is a $200 minimum, and Anderson delivers within a 35-mile radius of Deep Ellum, where she is based.
In August, Half Pint Palates meals and snacks will be available retail at the soon-to-be-opened family-friendly cafe Bake and Play in Lakewood.