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An Unexpected Dinner Guest

Pink Ribbon Cooking would not be possible without the intrusion of an uninvited dinner guest: breast cancer. Breast cancer has been sitting at my table each night since my wife rolled over and felt a lump in her left breast. From this moment forward the communal family table would forever change, bringing a pink lens to each and every meal. Sometimes breast cancer is polite and it allows others to talk, however, some evenings it is unruly, doing everything it can to grab the spotlight and attention of those around it.

To be honest I both hate and love breast cancer, two book end emotional responses that come into everyday life on an all too frequent and never ending basis.

Breast cancer has brought pain, suffering, fear, sadness and genuine hurt into the lives of those I love most, those I swore to protect and would gladly give my own life for, yet I am helpless to raise a single fist in defense to this disease. Breast cancer is an attack on the very essence of a women’s femininity; it leaves behind visible and emotional scars that affect even the strongest of women in all aspects of their lives; the private thoughts, fears and prayers that go into each and every day. The damage of the invisible is where I find no room for forgiveness for breast cancer.

At the same time the presence of breast cancer has shown me that life is a gift, a journey and an unending exploration into mind, body and soul.  In so many ways, this awareness has made me a better person..

Breast cancer has demonstrated to me how humans are connected beings. We are bonded by community, faith, friendship and love. No one ever truly fights cancer by themselves. There are millions of people that give time, money and careers to fight this disease. They honor those they love by wearing pink, walking, running and climbing mountains to raise money for research and support. These daily acts chip away at the hold breast cancer has on us, they show us that together we can find beauty in life.

As a chef it is possible for me to support Bridget, and others, in their recovery by planning menus that are healthy and balanced, appropriate in fat and calories, yet vibrant and full of flavor. I wanted to find a way to make a difference in the daily lives and celebrations of all breast cancer survivors and their families; this comes from sharing my knowledge of cooking, by promoting awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds in anyway possible, not just for research, but also for support for a better quality of life during the years of cancer.

Pink Ribbon Cooking is a sword raised to cancer, challenging its hold on my wife and others. It is an attempt to make a life with breast cancer richer and more rewarding. The concept is to show how healthy preparations of food can be made simply, with little effort, yet offer pleasure by reminding us that life is still beautiful, rich and rewarding. Pink Ribbon Cooking is not solely for the cancer survivor, families and friends face the cancer too. Cancer rests not within one, it takes root within many.

My hope is that if you know someone who is dealing with breast cancer that you will use Pink Ribbon Cooking as a resource, make a dish from it and then go sit down with your friend or family member and show them how much you love and respect them, bringing a smile to their face today and the next. Showing them the beauty that they bring to your life and the life of others.

Rest assured, I look forward to a day when I am able to sit at my dinner table without the intrusion of breast cancer. Until then it is ever present and I will hold my sword high, challenging what it can take from us and how it behaves.

Always remember that life is beautiful. Even in the darkest hours, just as cancer starts of as one little cell, happiness and joy can do the same, one meal at a time.

Live, love and laugh often, it is good medicine! 

“à votre santé” ...  “to your health!”