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BY: CHEF Sonia, The Chef Alliance, Posted: May 03 2006

Mother’s Day, May 14th 2006, is a day when we will be celebrating our mothers for their sacrifices to make our lives better and their undying love. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realised just how difficult, yet rewarding, being a mother can be.

This year, hundreds of mothers will be turning the tables on Mother’s Day, and will, instead, be celebrating the lives of their Autistic children. Autism is a complex brain disorder that affects communication skills, social interactions and relationships and behaviour. There are no definite causes for Autism, no cures, and apart from observing behaviour, there are no other tests to diagnose it. Autism affects people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Despite the high (and growing!) prevalence, there is very little funding for research or therapy for this devastating disorder.

Most Autistic people will never be independent, and will require lifelong supervision. Many will never look at their mom’s eyes, and smile, as ‘normal’ kids do. Most will never speak the 4 simple words that every mother yearns for – ‘I love you, Mommy.’ Those with Autism rarely hug or show any emotion.

I am one of those mothers, and I will be celebrating Mother’s Day in honour of my son who was diagnosed almost 6 years ago, just after he turned 3 years old. Together with my husband and 3 kids, I will be walking to raise money for the National Alliance for Autism Research at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto. 

For those of you who wish to donate (tax-deductible, of course!) to help in efforts to boost Autism research, please donate to

Together, we can all make a difference by speaking for those that cannot speak for themselves!

My recipe is for Saffron poached pears, a beautiful dessert for any mom on Mother’s Day, and also gluten-free and casein-free for all those families affected by Autism who follow the GFCF diet.

Saffron Poached Pears

4 pears, peeled, stalks intact
2 tablespoons honey
1 lemon, juiced
225 milliliters water
1 stick cinnamon
2 cloves
1 pinch saffron threads

1.    Over low-moderate heat, add honey and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed pan, which will accommodate the whole pears snuggly, i.e. ensure that the pan is not so big that the water level is too low, when added.
2.    When honey has 'melted' or thinned out, add the water and spices.  
3.    Stir until it begins to boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.  This will allow the flavours and colour to infuse into the poaching liquid.
4.    Add pears and simmer for about 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes, and basting the pears regularly with the poaching liquid.
5.    Allow to cool and serve.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick or some fresh berries/ pomegranate seeds.

Mother's Day & A Gluten-Free Casein-Free Recipe


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