Dietetic interns nourish with a theme in mind at Madigan

Photo By Kirstin Grace-Simons | “Dynamite sloppy joes” were on the menu for the New England Fare themed meal at the Grille at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on Feb. 2.



Story by Kirstin Grace-Simons 

Madigan Army Medical Center  

Have you been to the Madigan Grille to partake in one of its excellent themed meals? Have you wondered how that came about? Well, it’s a product of the Army’s Graduate Program in Nutrition, a combined effort of the AMEDD Center & School, Baylor University and internship sites at Brooke Army Medical Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Madigan.

The interns, who are second lieutenants, spend 10 months completing classroom training at the C&S in San Antonio, Texas, after which they head to one of the sites for a 12-month internship at one of the military treatment facilities.

This year, Madigan is hosting four interns – 2nd Lt. Lynette Mientus, 2nd Lt. Sarah Nowroozian, 2nd Lt. Dana Robertson and 2nd Lt. Evan Tryon.

Maj. Brittney Nicole, the chief of Production and Service Branch of the Nutrition Care Division at Madigan, gives a bit of insight into the internship program.

“Interns spend 10 weeks conducting food service operations and management rotations, which culminate in planning and executing a theme meal. This project requires months of work and an in-depth knowledge of the foodservice operation, from specialized system entry and planning, to ordering, storing, marketing, and managing the production of the meal to approximately 1,000 patrons,” she said.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, 2nd Lt. Evan Tryon hosted his meal – New England Fare. The menu included apple-brined chicken, herb-crusted Atlantic salmon, lobster mac n cheese, Narragansett succotash, Boston baked beans, Harvard beets, wheat roll with maple butter, apple cranberry walnut salad, New England clam chowder, dynamite sloppy joe, vegetarian lobster roll and maple bread pudding and blueberry pie.

How did he come up with this theme and menu? Easy, he is from New London, Conn. He went to Springfield College where he discovered “the Big Eat” in said Massachusetts town.

Tryon described attending this annual event for the first time as a real revelation.

He explained they have a house for each state where they have their best foods; people come through and sample the best of each New England state.

He took his inspiration from that event. Given the crowds and the talk afterwards, Tryon’s “big eat” was a big hit.

Even though he had inspiration at the ready, both from a lifetime of eating his hometown fare as well as the annual food event, he still put a lot of work into the meal. He presented a tasting panel weeks before the scheduled meal to roll out recipes to willing staff to try out in order to provide feedback so he could refine the recipes and presentation.

From the score sheets he collected at that panel, he upped the amount of lobster in the mac n cheese and didn’t mess with the resounding success of the maple bread pudding that received a unanimous five out of five in scoring.

If you are now kicking yourself for having missed this meal, not to worry, there are more interns to take on the themed meal challenge.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 2nd Lt. Sarah Nowroozian will lead the Madigan Grille in celebrating Black History Month with a meal that will include peri peri chicken with flavors from Mozambique, spicy berbere lentil chili making good use of the spice combination from Ethiopia and the southern U.S. classic peach cobbler, among other tasty dishes.

In general, the Madigan Grille has a themed meal roughly once a month, often along the lines of cultural monthly observances, like Black History Month. Anyone with access to the base is welcome to enjoy the fare the Grille offers up at any of these meals, or just your everyday lunch.

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