What if you woke up one morning and your food started tasting like a hunk of metal? What if the beautiful smell of baking bread suddenly became a smell that made you ill? What if your mouth became so tender that the thought of eating a potato chip made you shiver?
According to the Canadian Cancer Society’s 2013 stats, every 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Every 1 in 4 Canadians will die from it. And, chances are, you’ve known someone who has been touched by it.
Toronto General Hospital
200 Elizabeth Street
They say that some people eat to live, others live to eat. Either way, I believe that food and drink is a central part of our human experience – it brings people together whether in joy or in sorrow. Food is a sensual experience, closely tied to our souls.
So what happens when one of us gets sick? What if eating enough everyday suddenly becomes our biggest challenge?
On Wednesday, May 28th, it was our privilege to drop by the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s ELLICSR Kitchen inaugural #twEATup to support a program that addresses just that – helping cancer survivors and their families love food and stay nourished!
We arrived around 6pm at night at the ELLICSR: Health, Wellness and Cancer Survivorship Centre in Toronto General Hospital. The organization is a research and innovation centre. Here, they test out new and interesting health-related programs for cancer survivors such as the laughter program, cancer and exercise program, sexuality class and much more! That’s right, they actually have an in-house comedian. ELLICSR Kitchen, is just one of these very cool research-based programs, but like any home, is the heart of the program. The place where everyone gathers.
During the #twEATup, we were treated to some informative talks about the program and a very cool cooking demonstration led by their rather charming chef Geremy and hilariously rambunctious dietitian Christy where we learned how to make a recipe from the 1800s for mushroom ketchup amongst other strange and wonderful things (sour tomatoes can be tough for a sore mouth you see).
Oh yes, did I mention that they FED US? Oh, boy, did they feed us!
Chef Geremy served up some delicious, healthy creations including the Sweet Spring Pea Crostini, Smoked Gouda and Celery Root Soup, Dinosaur Kale Ketchup Chips, Kale Borini Dip, Cedar Plank Steelhead Trout Fishsticks, Sweet Potato Poutine with Mushroom Gravy and for desert… Orange Chocolate Zabaglione! (And no, I have no idea how to pronounce that.)
No appetite? Well, this duo is certainly going to change that!
I thought about writing detailed descriptions of each recipe, but hey, I have a feeling the pictures will do an even better job. That being said, I’d highly recommend the Cedar Plank Steelhead Trout Fishsticks and the Sweet Potato Poutine. Oh, the Dino Chips are fun too
Can I pack you two up and take you home?
Or at least borrow you to impress people at family gatherings?
Picture below left: Geremy trying to shove pulled pork into my face
Through the night, we also watched some of their awesome cooking videos (they have everything from delicious recipes to tips on how to chop onions) and learned about all their social media channels. They’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and have a blog (see below for all the links). You’ve got to check out their website.
Three times every month, they run live nutrition and cooking classes at the ELLICSR Kitchen. They even invite all sorts of guests to join them such as chefs, farmers, food producers and hey, even food bloggers! Certainly, this group is focused on meeting patients wherever they need them. This is some serious dedication!
Of course, these kinds of exciting, innovative, and super meaningful programs are far and few between and that’s because the reality is, all the ELLICSR Kitchen’s work is mostly funded by donors. That means, that without people like you and me, cancer survivors and their families won’t have access to Chef Geremy and Dietitian Christy’s infectious laughter and delicious food. What kind of health care system would we be without joyful, uplifting, delicious programs like this?
So, let’s show our support to our fellow foodies fighting the good fight by donating directly to this awesome program!
To donate: http://pmhf3.akaraisin.com/tweatup/ellicsr
Facebook: ELLICSR: Health, Wellness and Cancer Survivorship Centre
Pinterest: ELLICSR Kitchen
The Damage: Priceless