Get in the Derby Spirit at Your Retirement Community

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Get in the Derby Spirit at Your Retirement Community

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If you aren’t able to make it down to see all the action at Churchill Downs this year, don’t worry. The dining and events staff at Marjorie P. Lee is ready with advice to help you put on a sensational Derby Party at home in your own retirement community.

Every good party needs a good menu.

Ever party needs a good menuHealthy eating is an important part of the total wellness program at Marjorie P. Lee, and our kitchen team is always coming up with new recipes that are both tasty and nutritious. They’ve put together a spread worthy of the elegant and star-studded Taste of Derby event—an evening of food and entertainment that “celebrates and showcases cuisine of popular horse racing destinations across the country.”

Like the masterful chefs from these horse racing cities, Marjorie P. Lee’s team of dining experts has put together some of his best recipes so that you can recreate this Derby event at your retirement community with a potluck of traditional racing fare. A carefully planned potluck of healthy dishes means that you can sit back and enjoy the race day festivities safe in the knowledge that you’re not just eating in style—you’re eating smart, too.

Having the right menu can make an event.

Whole-wheat crostini or bruschetta with a variety of healthy spreads and toppings make ideal nibbles for your Derby party. You can prepare the separate ingredients ahead of time and put these healthy snacks together just before your party gets underway.

Toast slices of fresh whole-grain baguette and then experiment with different toppings like olive oil and an assortment of fresh, grilled veggies.

We also recommend trying the Benedictine Spread.

This Louisville dish was created around the turn of the century by well-known caterer Miss Jennie Benedict. The yesteryear favorite still maintains popularity today, especially with the Derby crowd. Miss Jennie made hers with a few drops of green food coloring, but modern Derby cooks can feel free to skip the artificial dyes.

Marjorie P. Lee’s team has a take on this Louisville dish that you can put together in just a few minutes and makes a great topping for a Derby crostini:


  • 1 package (8 oz.) softened cream cheese (for a dish that’s more friendly for a diabetic menu, try substituting American Neufchâtel for a lower fat option.)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled, grated, and drained on paper towels
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced green onions (trim the roots and use the whole shoot)
  • A dash of Tabasco sauce or pinch of cayenne pepper


Cream together softened cheese, mayo, and tobacco or cayenne in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add cucumber and green onion.

For a tasty dip, thin the mixture with sour cream and serve with plenty of fresh veggies.

Find a good craft beer or a selection of mixed drinks such as Mint Julips to sip alongside your Derby bites.

Make sure you have options like fruit juice and sparkling water for diabetics and other guest who limit their alcohol intake.

Bringing Derby to Life at Your Retirement Community

You can channel the spirit of Derby and sneak a little bit of exercise into your party at the same time. Take your party out onto the lawn of your retirement community with a game of horseshoes!

Here’s the Kentucky Derby’s official Point System for those of you who need a refresher:

  • 1 Point— The nearest horseshoe to the stake within 6 inches 
  • 2 Points— If both of one player's horseshoes are closer than the opponent's or a leaner, the case where a horseshoe literally leans on the stake.
  • 3 Points— A ringer! (If each player throws a ringer, the ringers cancel and no points are scored)

Most games are played to 21, and the winner must be ahead by two points.


Image Credit: soyculto

Bryan Reynolds
May 03, 2013
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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