Cooking for Family & Friends in Treatment
"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 our connected relationships. When a person is going through treatment 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 her or him with a little support when she or he needs it most.
Here are some important things to consider when cooking for a cancer patient:
- 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 cancer patients talk, reflect on what they are saying and share with them how much they mean to you.
- 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 your someone in a cancer treatment program can help more than you might think, especially if this person is neutropenic and in need of less contact with the outside world.
- 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.
- A Kid's Kitchen. If you are a child with a parent undergoing treatment there are many great things that you can do to help mom or dad get the nourishment she or he might need. I do not know of anyone that would resist a fantastic peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some fresh fruit. Learning to cook simple and healthy foods is a skill that will stick with you for a lifetime.
- A Clean Kitchen is a Safe Kitchen. As with all food production, make sure your kitchen is clean and organized. When cooking for loved ones in treatment, 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.