I had previously tried to read the book in the proper way but failed. It is very heavy and not all of it is equally fascinating, but it all hangs together in the end and has given me a proper education in genes, dna, mutations, what cancer actually is and why it has been so impossible to find a panacea.
It's a bit like fighting a guerrilla war. You can only defeat the insurgents where you find them and where you think they might be. It might seem as if all the rogue cells have been annhilated. But if you didn't find them or one is high in the hills watching, or there are reinforcements coming from abroad in the next few months, then the battle will resume as soon as numbers have built up and the enemy is attacking once again. That is not to say there aren't victories, but they are victories of battles, not of the war, but the war against cancer is one from which we can never withdraw.
One thing struck me that was full of hope, was Mukherjee was talking about a previously rare cancer that is now quite common. It might be assumed that the cancer itself is on the upsurge, but no, it was rare because people died from it, now they live with it, so just like AIDS, it is no longer a killer but a chronic disease.
7-star book. 8 even... it was that good.
1/8 tsp of xanthan gum (negligble calories, lots of soluble fibre) whisked at high, long and boring speed into 1/4 cup of skim milk (21 cals) until thick like a meringue.
Add another 1/8 tsp of xantham gum and whisk more. Add flavouring and sweetener - yoghurt, apple sauce, mashed banana, sugar-free kool aid (makes the texture chunky, very odd) or for an ersatz cay lime pie, some lime juice. Not chocolate, dissolves the whole thing.
For chocolate mousse, 2 tsps of cocoa powder (20 cals and has soluble fibre) to some sugar-free syrup (10 cals) and stir. This is very nice with a bit of ginger and cinnamon added and pour over vanilla-flavoured mousse.
Xantham gum remains bulky in your stomach and fills you up for a short while, but 1 and a half cups of a fluffy mousse are a nice ending to a diet meal as it can be under 25 cals (and then I can have another one and read some more Emperor of All Maladies.
(I lost 55lb and 30 points off my cholesterol.
This book took me over a year to read. I kept it on the kitchen counter and as the left-hand page pile got bigger there was me standing on the right, getting smaller. It was my diet book. A couple of pages and a pound or so every week. What I was doing was either boiling the kettle or making my own concoction of a fat and cholesterol-busting mousse* that involved just holding an immersion whisk for a couple of minutes. I have such a low threshold for boredom I had to do something, so I read Emperor of All Maladies.