The following list (in no particular order) is a collection of things, which I will probably add to, that I have found help me when preparing food, cooking and eating.

  • Standing up (what I like to call street food eating) always with a bottle of fizzy water, my constant eating companion, to hand and some care taken, helps to improve swallowing.spiralised crispy root vegetables
  • A spiraliser is an essential tool which enables me to spiralise potato and other root veg which can be fried until crispy, thus providing carbohydrate, vitamins etc. You could use a Mandolin (though I view them as a little dangerous!) I’ve found I couldn’t eat potato any other way at this point in time. Mine has three different sized blades, so for anyone who’s condition may be slightly better than mine, if the larger blades were used, the spiralised potato could easily be cooked into French fries with crisp exterior and a soft middle
  • Plating food up: From my experience it’s best to eat all the components created individually, I don’t mix things up as I find it’s likely to clog up. It’s very much trial and error, but the result is inspiring and worth the effort.
  • I’ve noticed that if something has been cooked in butter or tossed in oil so long as you have fizzy water and you don’t engage in taking to large mouthfuls, it becomes highly probable that this will assist in swallowing. I am constantly thinking and there’s often a way to work out a solution.
  • Food temperature is also a key factor, as we are, of course, slower eaters because of our illness. It’s important that food is at an even temperature so it may be useful to look at using a plate warmer.
  • Bearing in mind that oesophageal cancer patients are restricted in every way re food, I think small Tapas portions, lots of them, could prove interesting and enable the sharing of meals with loved ones again. It can be quite isolating when difficulty swallowing makes social occasions impossible.
  • A water bath could be a useful tool for vacuum packed meat because it makes it so tender it’s easier to swallow.

Although my ideas might seem daunting, I feel that they are very doable. I have developed the desire to enjoy food and live life as close to normal as possible with the enemy cancer within me.  Any sufferer of oesophageal cancer will need to think hard about the whole food process, but it is possible to eat normal food, with compromise, yes, but it is certainly doable for me.