Jeannine Ginsburg's bucket list just got shorter: She
can cross off "Write a cookbook." The West Chester,
Pennsylvania, mother of two recently published "Mommy's Light in the Kitchen: A Keepsake Cookbook Full of Recipes and Memories". But the book is more than just a collection of tasty dishes and anecdotes: At the root of its creation is a mother's desire to remain part of her family's meals even after she's gone.
Ten years ago, Jeannine, at left, became one of the 2.5 million women in America who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
She has had treatment, but 3 years ago, learned that the cancer was spreading. "After my diagnosis, I started thinking about creating a cookbook for my husband, Steve, and sons, Adam, 14, and Daniel, 12, so they could still experience familiar, favorite foods even if I wasn't there to cook them."
After sharing her idea with friends Kathy, Martha and Cathy, who all helped her with the project, the book snowballed from a batch of Jeannine's best dishes to an outpouring of recipes from neighbors and friends inspired by her story. Together, the women decided to publish the book as a fund-raiser for a charity dear to Jeannine's heart: the Mommy's Light Lives On Foundation.
Mommy's Light, founded in 1997, helps bereaved children keep their mothers' spirit alive by continuing the traditions they shared, whether it's baking cookies or planting flowers.
"Carrying on traditions helps grieving children keep a healthy connection to their moms and is a step in helping them adapt to that loss," says Laura Munts, president of Mommy's Light.
"Jeannine's cookbook honors the special bond between children and their mothers. We're grateful for her selfless contribution."
Even before the book was completed, more than 600 orders had been placed. "I'm absolutely surprised by its success," says Jeannine. "We did this to preserve the tastes, smells and memories of special foods that evoke the warmth, love and light of a mother's cooking. Now it's also benefiting a wonderful charity.
"Going through my cancer experience, and then this cookbook project, has taught me that people are happiest when given the opportunity to help others," she says. "And that when a large group of mothers gets together to do something worthwhile for kids, things really can happen."