- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) - If you are looking for a model on how to age well and gracefully, meet Eugene Roth, of Rochester. This 87-year-old gentleman is fit, active, cooks all of his own meals and has a variety of interests.

Oh, and he also lives on his own in a house that is neat and tidy. So add “great housekeeper” to his list of qualities.

Roth was born in Rochester in 1928 and has fond memories of the town’s early days, the Post-Bulletin (https://bit.ly/1QGw8k6 ) reported.

“One of the most vivid is of my mother taking me to a parade by where the Gonda building is now, and we watched President Roosevelt ride by in a convertible,” he said. “Drs. Will and Charlie were in the car with him. I can remember it like it was yesterday. In fact, there is a picture of that very event in the Mayo building. When I go there for appointments and I see people looking at that picture, I like to stop and tell them that I was there.”

Roth graduated from Rochester high School, where he played hockey and football, in 1948.

His interest in food and cooking came later, even though his father was at one time the owner of Silver Lake Foods. Not interested in making that his career, he went to work for Heinz foods.

“I went around the country selling ketchup,” he said. Over the years, there were times when he needed to cook, and though his mother was an excellent one he didn’t learn from her.

“I should have paid more attention,” he said. “I could have learned a lot from her. Boy, could she cook!”

These days he has a wide repertoire of recipes, all hand-written on small index cards. There must be at least 50 (though I didn’t count). He seldom uses cookbooks, but goes to Barnes and Noble at least twice a week and looks over food magazines.

“I like to see what dishes they focus on,” he said. “I don’t always make the recipes, but it’s fun for me to see what they come up with. Sometimes I’ll copy them down.”

Most of the food Roth prepares is cooked either in an old cast iron skillet, a slow cooker or the oven. And does he have favorites?

“I fix whatever I’m hungry for,” he said. “Last week I wanted sauerkraut, so I put that together with some pork, apples and potatoes.”

While he enjoys cooking, he does watch what he eats and is especially fond of vegetables.

“I love squash - it’s a favorite, but I really like all vegetables,” he said. Has he ever had a vegetable garden? “No, I never really had the room and the squirrels were a nuisance.” One of his sons, however, does have a big garden and keeps Roth supplied.

In his younger days, Roth was an avid hunter of deer and kept the family fed with venison.

“Over my life, I have bagged 27 since 1952,” he said. “Now my daughter is a hunter and keeps my freezer full. I grind it up and use it in soups or chili or spaghetti sauce. My kids were raised on venison.”

Trout is another favorite, which he bakes in the oven, avoiding anything fried.

“I used to fish for them at Whitewater State Park - a great meal,” he said.

Since he has had two heart attacks, Roth not only watches what he eats but is an avid walker.

“I’ll walk Apache Mall every day during the week,” he said. “On weekends, when it is too busy there (at the mall), my girlfriend and I will walk all through the subway system.”

Among his other interests, Roth is passionate about opera.

“My mother introduced me to it when I was just a boy,” he said. “I have loved it ever since.” When the Metropolitan Opera would come to Minneapolis, he tried not to miss a performance.

“I even saw Risë Stevens as Carmen,” he said. “What a thrill that was!”

He tries not to miss a performance when the Metropolitan is screened at the theater here.

So any advice on longevity for the rest of us?

“Exercise, eat well and just generally take care of yourself,” Roth said. “My Mayo doc expects he’ll be taking care of me for a long time still.”


Information from: Post-Bulletin, https://www.postbulletin.com

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