About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, April 02, 2010
World Autism Awareness Day

As someone in a family that lives with autism, it's great to have an awareness day as autism isn't always well understood. With the rate of those with an autism spectrum disorder around 1 in 160, there's no doubt that you know of someone or a family with an affected member.

It's a condition that manifests itself in a myriad of ways, from those unable to look after themselves to others who manage to make an incredibly useful contribution to society, like Bill Gates of Microsoft fame or Temple Grandin and the advances she made for the cattle industry.

One of the most cogent writers on autism is MOM-Not Otherwise Specified, sharing stories of life with her son Bud. In beautifully crafted posts, part of the nature of autism is revealed in a way which leaves you glad.

I would like to point you to a post summary that acts like an FAQ on autism from when mom-nos wrote about a visit to her son's school to explain the condition and answer questions from Bud's fellow students.

If you would like to see why the autism community thinks awareness is vital, this post contains insight in to what it's like being a parent of an autistic child and dealing with the reactions of people who are unaware of the condition and the practicalities it involves.

One of those practicalities is teaching our children how to eat right, pretty much a minefield for all parents, but formidably challenging when autistic traits are thrown in. It's not uncommon for autistics to eat food of one single colour and no other, which seemed like an idea for an awareness theme.

Hope you enjoy some of the ideas presented by other food bloggers.

Do you think food blogs are always about the photo? Kitchen hand of What I cooked last night doesn't and I agree, his beautiful narrative never needs gilding.

Lydia Walshin, from the Perfect Pantry, has posted this evocative coriander and carrot soup on her Soup Chick blog. A Moroccan influenced gem.

Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen has produced a riff on Colcannon, basing her dish on cabbage and cauliflower, in the most delicate shade of green you could imagine. The Irish would be most proud.

Johanna from Green Giraffe Gourmet had a long, hard think about the colours and nutrition of food and I'm sure glad she did, producing excellent vegetarian orange burgers.

Tanna from My Kitchen In Half Cups has come up with an easy peasy green dip and a little autism history lesson. Love the vivid green and the ease with which this can be made.

Dara from Cookin' Canuck has brought along dessert, bless her heart. What's life without a treat every now and then? A gorgeous blueberry coconut icecream that is both gluten and dairy free, two areas which some autistics can have sensitivities to.

Honestly, isn't the world a better place with mac & cheese in it? One of the all time greatest comfort foods and firm family favourite over at Andrea's Recipes. I so identify with this dish, our daughter loves it too!

Anh from A Food Lover's Journey has created something very in season and something very soothing, a beautiful creamy chestnut soup, though there was some pain along the way, the pain of peeling chestnuts!

My wife decided to cook a typical Polish dish, barszcz zabielany (creamy beetroot soup), and one that our daughter happily eats, bold colour and all. It contains beetroot, potato, meat stock, vinegar and cream.

I was trying for a fun white theme here with scallops resting on a bed of garlic scented potato and parsnip mash, coated with a bechamel sauce flavoured with smoked cod's roe with a crunchy white salad of cucumber, fennel and apple, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

With the time difference between hemispheres there will be more posts to come, so check back to see what I've added.

Thanks to everyone who contributed, your support means more than you know. For anyone wondering what practical thing to do, the words, 'Can I help', mean more than you could ever imagine.


  posted at 11:48 am

At 10:40 pm, Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Neil, thanks for your eloquent posts all year long about living with autism in your family. I've learned so much from reading them.

At 4:37 am, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

What a lovely post. I think anything that helps raise people awareness about this is good, so I loved your idea of an event focusing on one-color dishes. Love seeing what people came up with too, will check back to see more.

At 9:12 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

One color was a challenge Neil but then a picky eater is always a challenge!

At 3:22 pm, Blogger Mary said...

Fantastic! What a creative take on autism awareness.

And thanks for the nod as well!

At 9:49 pm, Blogger Johanna GGG said...

Thanks for a thoughtful post and a meaningful challenge that made me think outside my own experience. And I should not forget to mention some of the great food on display as well!

At 3:34 am, Blogger Joanie said...

Seems a healthy feast here, Neil. I like the mashed potato with the garlic on it. I think it's to die for. I uber like the garlic. The rest are equally irresistible!!!

At 5:46 am, Blogger Cookin' Canuck said...

Neil, thank you so much for hosting this wonderful event. It was an honor to participate, and it's great fun to see what everyone else came up with.

At 9:11 am, Anonymous wine blog said...

Great post, the food looks really good and the message is even better. Cheers~

At 10:48 am, Blogger GS said...

Sorry, Easter got the better of me but I had fun thinking of colour themed food in your original post!

At 1:00 am, Blogger Andrea Meyers said...

This is terrific, Neil. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us and for organizing the event.

At 12:21 pm, Blogger Ali-K said...

Thanks for the great post. I have friends with relatives who have autism, and my sister in law is a speech pathologist, so I considered myself reasonably well-versed in the challenges of autism. But I had never thought of the every day challenge of eating.

At 5:49 am, Blogger Katie Zeller said...

Love the colors; love the food!
And love the post - thanks for making us all more aware.

At 9:04 pm, Blogger Barbara said...

An excellent round up Neil. I'm pleased to see some of my blogging friends posting in support. Hopefully next year I'll come up with something.

At 12:04 am, Anonymous Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

What a great roundup - and what a delicious way to raise awareness!

At 1:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi .. i notice you mention Bill Gates , who is pushing vaccines that actually CAUSE autism .
He is a member of the Bilderberg group , whose main aim is to reduce the worlds population . I love your site , but please , do not include that man on it .
Regards , Mark .


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