Cooking for Zita cookbook celebrates Kindness

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Cooking for Zita cookbook celebrates Kindness

by Cooking_for_Zita on Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:00 AM

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Five years after her breast cancer diagnosis, the memories of the burning effects of chemotherapy are beginning to fade for Zita Ganza. What will not be forgotten by this St. John, Indiana woman is the compassion she received, packaged in jars of homemade tomato juice and large pots of home-cooked soups and casserole dishes. This kindness soothed Zita’s pains and carried her spirit through the hardest days of treatment.

Cooking for Zita Helping Loved Ones Through Cancer is a new cookbook from the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster, Indiana. Inspired by Zita’s journey through cancer, the book shares unforgettable stories of kindness and of the foods that people make and share with one another.  The book honors the community bonds that are strengthened when one person takes action in the kitchen and nourishes the body and soul of a neighbor in need.

Recipes featured in this book range from comfort food offerings to dishes that can fortify body and spirit, as well as ease side effects of various cancer treatments. But the golden threads of Cooking for Zita are the anecdotes and stories woven throughout the book from people who either received a certain dish during their cancer battle or from their families and friends.

The note next to a recipe for Tomato Aspic reads, “My sister Donna loved tomatoes, but couldn’t swallow solid foods during her cancer treatment. This recipe satisfied her taste for tomatoes and was cool and easy to swallow. I made it for her in heart-shaped molds!”

The stories about and from mothers, fathers, spouses, children, friends and neighbors are perhaps more heartwarming than the recipes themselves. Cooking for Zita is a wonderful book that not only shows us ways we can enrich people’s lives, but reminds us how a simple gesture truly makes a difference for others when they need it most.

The note next to a recipe for Amy’s Sugar Cookies shares a memory of a three-year-old’s journey with cancer: “One day my neighbor brought over sugar cookies, already cut out and baked. She also brought along frosting and sprinkles. She said that she had thought about our daughter being home all the time between treatments and thought she might like something to do. Of course, Amy was thrilled and had a wonderful afternoon decorating and frosting cookies.”

Cooking for Zita (ISBN 978-0-9795825-0-9; $24.95) is available from the Cancer Resource Centre by calling 219-836-3349, or online at  It is available for sale at the gift shops of three Northwest Indiana hospitals: Community Hospital in Munster; St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago; and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. The hard-cover, four-color cookbook features more than 200 recipes, including some from area chefs.

The cost to publish the book was underwritten by private individuals, organizations and area businesses. The book’s four-color photography was donated by Walt Bukva, of Michigan City, Indiana. With these donations, all of proceeds from the sale of this book directly benefit the Cancer Resource Centre.

“We are thankful to the many people who stepped forward to make this book possible with their donations and the personal stories they shared with us,” said Tony Andello, Director of the Cancer Resource Centre.  “We hope this book inspires people to explore what they can do to make someone’s journey through cancer a little easier.”

The Cancer Resource Centre, 900 Ridge Road in Munster, offers patients and families a non-medical place where they can come to celebrate life, deal with hardships and get their questions answered. The Centre offers features a lending library, and offers professionally-led support groups and mind-body programs including Yoga, T’ai Chi, Empowerment Drumming, Reiki, and Art Therapy. The Resource Centre is a program of the Community Cancer Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of cancer care available in Northwest Indiana and the south Chicago suburbs.



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