Making a way out of no way.

I had started writing this reflection a few days ago, but something kept me from posting it to my website. Perhaps, it was because I needed to go to Zoë’s last chemotherapy session first. A conversation with one of the husband’s there touched my heart. His wife was going through her third bout with cancer, this time in her throat. It was hard to get her to eat because nothing tasted good. He was beating himself up because he could not find a way to make food taste good to her. When you are on chemotherapy it affects your taste buds in ways you cannot describe to anyone else. For those preparing the food, it is a constant guessing game because what tasted good on Monday does not taste good on Tuesday. It can take the Zen out of cooking even for those who experience Zen while cooking. Learning how to make things taste good for Zoe has challenged me to really listen to why something does not taste good, so I can think about what will make it taste good. This is what I had asked this gentleman. What are her complaints?
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Trying not to get chopped!

If you have read my blog, you know that I am a chopped fanatic. Just about every episode I learn something new and exciting about food. I also learn a spiritual lesson in the process. The last few weeks have been a challenge in our kitchen and in my own way, I feel as if I have been on the chemo-care version of Chopped. I have no been given a basket of mystery ingredients from which I have to create an appetizer, entrée, and desert. Rather, Zoë’s taste buds are on a temporary vacation. It started a few weeks ago when most things started tasting like cardboard, and then I discovered the amazing ability of salt to take things from cardboard to palatable. I though I had it all worked out and could figure out how to create things that would make her enjoy eating again and not want to send the food back to the kitchen because it tastes like cardboard.
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Becoming a chemo caring kitchen

It was about a week ago today that my wife Zoë received her first chemotherapy treatment. While she has been amazingly blessed with the minimal side effects she has experienced, the most significant has been a decrease in appetite. What she once enjoyed with reckless abandon, she does not desire. Things she once would not consider, she is now requesting. A few months ago, I was learning to adjust our meals to be low carb, low fat, diabetic, and vegetarian friendly meals. Now I am learning what ingredients are best at preventing the spread of cancer in one’s body and identifying what foods can be most helpful in treating what side effects. It is a completely new way of cooking. The biggest symptom she has had is loss of appetite.
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Keeping the Zen

The last few months have been an unexpected adventure in our lives. The beginning of August, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then our lives have been impacted in ways I could not even begin to imagine. Today, she had her first chemotherapy treatment. One of the things I have come to understand is the importance of preparing foods that will be nutritious for her regardless of how she is feeling in response to the chemotherapy. There may be days to come where she feels fine, days when she is tired, days when she is nauseous, and days when she does not feel like eating because of mouth sores. Thinking about how to cook for her has definitely moved me outside of my comfort zone. After being with her for almost 10 years, I have mastered her taste buds and flavor profiles.
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