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Cooking for a Breast Cancer Patient or Caregiver During the Holidays

POSTED BY Pink Ribbon Cooking / December 16, 2013

Pink Ribbon Cooking

"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort."  Norman Kolpas

Cooking for someone is an expression of friendship and love; it is an essential activity associated with community and it highlights our connected relationship to one another.

When a person is fighting cancer or caring for someone with cancer there are many moments of quiet thought, reflection and concern; sharing a meal and spending time with someone can do much to uplift a person's spirits and provide them with a little support when they need it most.  Never is this more true than during the holiday season.

By most accounts there will be between 250,000 and 300,000 newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer this year. 

For many this will be the first holiday season with breast cancer in their lives.  Also realize that few people face cancer alone; cancer impacts family, friends and coworkers as well.

Perhaps you are directly touched by a breast cancer diagnoses or maybe a friend, coworker or family that you know is facing breast cancer this year.   It is natural to want to do something nice for them and reach out, but you might be a bit concerned about what to say or do (this is a common fear even away from the holidays). 

What if the wrong words are said or they are reminded that they are sick.  Trust me, they know they are sick and most cancer patients will not feel jaded when someone with good intentions shares how much they mean to them, especially during the holidays. 

I encourage those thinking about reaching out to get in your kitchen, make something delicious and spread the holiday cheer.  Don’t let cancer get in the way of letting them know they are in your thoughts and heart.  This little piece of being human warms even the coldest of days.

While you are planning what to do here are some important things to consider when cooking for a cancer patient:

• Keep it Simple.  

If you are going to cook for your someone in a cancer treatment program, try to remember that  cancer patients do not control all of their reactions to their environment. Often times the aromas from cooking can force a loss of appetite. Now is not the time for the white truffle oil and foie gras.  Less is more. Stick to basics.

• Go Shopping

Offering to shop for a cancer patient this holiday season can help more than you might think, especially if this person is neutropenic requiring less contact with the outside world.  This goes for groceries and other shopping, especially if it is on your way to their house.

• Make it Ahead of Time 

Foods that can be prepared ahead of time at your house and then brought to your family or friend’s house is often a great strategy that allows you both to sit and enjoy a meal together.

• Be There 

We are all human and need connections to one another. Being there for someone, even in the silence is good medicine, for both of you. Listen when  they talk, reflect on what they are saying and share with them how much they mean to you.

• A Kid's Kitchen  

If you are a child with a parent and mom or dad has cancer there are many great things that you can do to help provide some of the nutritional and emotional nourishment they might need.  I do not know of any parent that could not be made better from a peanut butter sandwich with some fresh fruit made by their fantastic children. 

• A Clean Kitchen is a Safe Kitchen 

As with all food production, make sure your kitchen is clean and organized.  When cooking for a cancer patient, remember that they are putting their trust in you; be sure to follow proper sanitation and hygiene when you prepare food. Do not let a great gesture turn into a painful experience.

If you would like to get some additional recipes please feel free to download our Cooking
Through Chemo eCookbook.  There are 7 wonderful recipes and lots of advice on
cooking for those touched by cancer.

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