Special Needs Cooking In The Kitchen

Positive Attitude Overcomes Handicaps & Disabilities

My Aunt Mimi was born with cerebral palsy.  At the time of her birth my grandparents were told that she would not live to age one.  Her parents would not accept that, and they became her strongest advocates.  She went on to live a long, fulfilled and healthy life in spite of many handicaps and disabilities.

Aunt Mimi (center) with Deb (baby) and her Mom, Juliette Desmond

Aunt Mimi (center) with Deb (baby) and Jo

Her Dad, Daniel Desmond, insisted that she get a good education even if the school systems of the time looked at physical disabilities as if they were mental disabilities.

As a result of his constant love, devotion and creative solutions to obstacles, Aunt Mimi got her high school degree from the Fanny Farmer School Of Cooking.

This gave her a passion for cooking, and a style of cooking that took into consideration her palsy and physical disability.

Aunt Mimi went on after high school to get a master’s degree in English literature and become the English literature librarian at the University of Massachusetts. She was also  influential, working with government agencies during the Vietnam era to create better handicap access in public places.  Mimi is a good example of how positive attitude can change your life.

Cooking With Disabilities

Aunt Mimi cooked almost entirely in the oven to avoid open flames because of her disabilities.

The Now We’re Cooking episode “Aunt Mimi’s Baked Dinners” commemorates my Aunt Mimi, who passed away at age 78.

Her passion for good cooking and real food certainly played a role in her long life.  Aunt Mimi offers inspiration and solutions to cooking a healthy diet even when you have physical disabilities.  Healthy food, a passion for cooking and a natural diet will assist everyone in overcoming life’s challenges.

Special Needs Cooking Classes

Deb offers special needs cooking classes for all challenges.  Gluten-free, physically or mentally challenged groups, ADHD classes and more.  Solutions for people with disabilities in the areas of food, cooking, diets and wellness are available.

If you have a challenge or disability and would like to learn more about cooking or living healthy to assist you in reaching your potential, please contact Deb NOW!


Mimi’s Chicken Casserole

1 roasting chicken
1 Tbs. each 3 different fresh herbs
1 cup celery-diced
½ cup green pepper-sliced
1 cup onion-minced
salt, pepper
1 (30 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 large sweet potato-washed and sliced
1 large baking potato-washed and sliced

1. Cut chicken into 8 parts. (or buy chicken already cut) Arrange in casserole dish.
2. Top with all other ingredients in the order listed and cover with casserole lid.
3. Bake for 1 hour at 375º.

Mimi’s Baked Cod (Any Fish) Au Gratin

This recipe can be made with cod, haddock or any other white fish that you want.

1 lb. cod fillets
½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. fresh herb
salt and pepper

1. Cut cod into four equal pieces, so that all portions are the same thickness and size. Arrange in baking dish or pan.
2. Combine all of the rest of the ingredients, mix well.
3. Smear the cheese goop evenly over the fish pieces.
4. Bake in a 375º oven for 25 minutes.

Oven Brown Potatoes

2 baking potatoes-washed and cut into spears
1 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
¼ tsp. Italian seasoning mix
1. Toss cut potatoes in olive oil and spices.
2. Arrange on baking stone and bake at 375º for 30 minutes.

Baked French Beans

1 bag frozen French style green beans
1 tbs. butter
1 tsp. seasoning mix of your choice
¼ cup pepper diamonds

Combine all ingredients in casserole dish. Cover and bake at 375º for 30 minutes.

Rice Pudding Made Easy

2 eggs
4 oz. egg white
2 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. orange zest
½ orange-juiced
½ cup dried fruit of your choice
2 cups 1 % milk
2 cups cooked brown rice
1½ cups cookie crumbs

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in mixing bowl and mix well.
2. Add rice and mix well.
3. Place one cup cookie crumbs in bottom of stoneware casserole. Pour in rice mixture and top with remaining crumbs.
4. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes.

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    Shared by: Sylvie Duke:

    I love the TV show Now We’re Cooking. I really enjoyed the part with Justin helping with the rice pudding. Your willingness to have a disabled young man on your show is commendable.

    Shared by: Peg Welch:

    Great article! I’m making that rice pudding!

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