Erica’s Cancer Journey: “Erica’s State of the Plate Address”

“There is no We in Food.”

This living carb machine delights so much in food right now (thank you, steroids), I make champion eater Sonya “the Black Widow” Thomas look like she’s picking at her plate.

I’m also chewing away because I’m eating my feelings: My beloved neurosurgeon has Elvised. Left the building. Gone. Totally out of the blue. Mike and I texted a hasty “What’s going on?” as soon as we got the call, and he said he’s “barred from talking to us for insurance issues.”

It was that crazy rainy Monday night. We headed into our medical appointment in shock, then were told we had the wrong day. Decided to ease our grief with some La Azteca Poughkeepsie empanadas. Closed. Finally made it to Los Agaves, where our friend had gifted us with a family meal. A virgin mango margarita has never tasted so good!


Then I gilded the lily. You don’t want to know what this is. But I am going to tell you anyway because I love you. You are very welcome. Pasquale’s New Paltz has a Nirvana situation that they call “Nutella Rolls,” but make no mistake: It’s literally what Nirvana tastes like. Six petite offerings of hot fried dough filled with Nutella. Costs $6-ish. Guaranteed to right wrongs, cure what ails you and spread joy throughout the land.

Anyway, I feel very fortunate that the other half of my neurosurgeon’s team remains, and I adore him as well (and his craaaaaazy cutie kids). So my brainiac follow-ups will now in be Westchester instead of Poughkeepsie. And since the diner near that practice has a chicken piccata that I want to lay down my life for, this is already working out well for me.

“All sorrows are less with bread.”
– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Bread is the latest vector in my world of yum, tiny yet mighty. Specifically, unyeasted from Bread Lab. This weekly co-op is rocking my world. Do not get me started on the baguettes. Apparently there’s an expression, “Man cannot live by bread alone.” But I definitely could, now that Bread Lab is in my life:

Rough Draft in Kingston in located in the same place as Bread Lab, but they’re two different businesses. Rough Draft is the larger, primary shop, and it carries an insane chocolate croissant and a sweeten-your-own infused chai latte that knocks my Jaipurs off:

You’re getting the picture. I basically have a limitless capacity to ingest. I eat some chocolate almond tart, then I’m like, “Are Thomas’ English muffins any good?” [toasts and slathers with cream cheese] “Yup!”

Head On and Heart Strong! 

Love, Erica

Kids’ Almanac columnist Erica Chase-Salerno was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the Summer of 2015. To read more about her experience, visit