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Food, glorious food!

By Gillian

I’ve had comments that this blog seems to be nearly as much about food as it is about living with cancer. I’ve looked back over some of our posts, and I take the point – but I’m not going to apologise! Food has always been important to us both, and being able to enjoy good food is one of the the things that really helps with our quality of life, and hence with coping with all the unpleasant things that are going on.

But although we’ve both written about food quite a lot to date, I think it’s really worth mentioning all the help we’ve had in tempting jaded appetites and helping Chris (and as a side effect, me too!) to put weight back on and keep it there.

It all started way back in January when Chris was really bad, it was snowing heavily outside, and I was so stressed that I wasn’t eating much more than he was, namely hardly anything. There was a knock on the door, and it was our neighbour Elspeth with some still-warm drop scones for my tea. I hadn’t realised how ravenous I was and polished them off!

Once Chris was eating better, and able to move off soups to “proper food”, a friend made up some batches of bolognese sauce which I’ve frozen in small quantities for his lunches. Chris can defrost a single portion, and have it with pasta, or a jacket potato, or jazz it up with chili. That way I know that he can make himself a proper lunch when I’m at work, even if he’s not feeling up to cooking from scratch.

Of course, it’s well known to our friends that Chris has something of a sweet tooth, and indeed he’s mentioned on this blog how he’s currently finding sweet things more palatable than savoury. We have had a whole procession of friends bearing a variety of cakes, biscuits, chocolate brownies, apple tarts and most recently some jars of home-made marmalade from an old family friend of Christopher’s. We have thoroughly enjoyed them all.

Perhaps the most exotic food-offering arrived last week, air-mail from up-state New York. It was a jar of maple syrup, made by Christopher’s cousin Ben from his own maple trees. We had to test it out of course, on some pancakes for Sunday breakfast. It was delicious – perhaps less sweet than the mass produced maple syrup that we can get in the shops here, and with wonderful smokey overtones, due to being boiled down over an open fire.

So this is a big thank you to you all. We have been really touched by your thoughtfulness and friendship – and we’ve definitely enjoyed eating the results!

{ 8 } Comments

  1. Joan Lock | 13 April 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I think a large part of your life when you are living with cancer inevitably becomes focused on food and the complications of your digestive tract! I also seem to write a lot about food on my blog – it’s the lack of taste that I dislike most.

  2. Gillian | 13 April 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree. The oesophageal cancer itself gradually took away Chris’s ability to eat normally, then the chemotherapy improved those symptoms but brought on nausea and changing tastes, and some of the other drugs also messed with his digestive tract. So all in all choosing, eating and digesting food has taken on even more importance than it had before…..

  3. sue hawkins | 14 April 2010 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Gillian & Christopher –
    There! Speed right for once! Good maple syrup, eh? I had my own little jar that ended up with a huge sugar crystal in the bottom. Yum!

    Maple syrup season is over now, spring has *finally* sprung, maybe now our flowers will catch up with yours!
    —sue h

  4. icyjumbo | 14 April 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Sue, there seems to be a layer of sugar crystals at the bottom of our jar too. When the syrup is finished, we’ll just have a couple of mape sweets left, won’t we? 🙂

    I can’t believe your flowers are later than ours. Our daffodils have only just started to flower in the last week. Spring is really late this year.

  5. CattusMagnus | 14 April 2010 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    If Chris likes sweets, I must highly recommend Hello Dollies. They’re very simple to make. They’re irresistible. It’s like cocaine in a pan. 😉

  6. icyjumbo | 14 April 2010 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the pointer to the recipe CattusMagnus. I’ll certainly check it out … but I’m not very keen on coconut, so I’m not sure these are for me.

  7. Paul Ducksbury | 21 April 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink


    I can definitely recommend the Hairy Bikers Key lime pie


  8. Gillian | 21 April 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi Paul. Good to hear from you. Thanks for the suggestion – we’ll definitely check it out.