My son with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, now 24, lives in a group home during the week and is home with us on the weekends. We love seeing him and he loves being here, though he spends most of the time quietly in his room, often carving wood.
He’s a very sweet, quiet young man, but completely without the gift of conversation. Though we don’t get much back in words, my husband and I always chat with him about things going on, ask him questions, and like to hang out with him if he’s willing.
While I know he’s a loner and not usually comfortable with people, I see him light up when he actually does make some sort of “connection” with people. I, therefore, as his mum, try to bring him out of his isolation. I think part of the reason he likes coming home is because we make him “connect,” and he therefore feels connected. Who, in this great big world of ours doesn’t need that?
Nevertheless, the strength of our connection is not based on words. When he was little, we could lavish physical affection on him, and it helped us build a strong bond – us with him and him with us. Unfortunately, the physical affection route to building our relationship with him is long gone. It’s hard to get even a hug out of him these days. I guess it’s age appropriate, and that’s a good thing. But I miss the physical connection with my son. It was reciprocal.
I know that all the attempts in the world at conversation isn’t going to maintain our connection. Fortunately, like other mothers, I know that another good way to my son’s heart is through his stomach.
Since it’s fall, I decided to take advantage of all those beautiful, juicy fresh Empire and Cortland apples I bought at the St. Lawrence Market on Saturday morning. I whipped out the recipe for Apple Fritters I had been drooling over in my latest edition of Canadian Living magazine, and got cracking. I convinced myself, without much difficulty, that deep fried and battered apple slices would be good for the family.
I was right. They were heavenly. As my husband said, “Tastes like we’re at the State Fair.” When he said, “They’re great,” I could only reply, “Of course they’re great. They’re sweet and fried. Always a winning combination.”
My son was grinning from ear to ear with each bite of the fritters. Seeing him like that was almost worth the extra inches on my waist. Forget the almost. It was worth it. As I walked him to the front door on his way back to the group home, he looked at me and said, “The fritters were great, mum. You’ve got to make them again.” Boy, will I.
Besides my joy, let me share with you the winning Apple Fritters recipe from Canadian Living:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1/ tsp salt
1 cup soda water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, separated
Oil for deep-frying
In large bowl, whisk together l ¼ cups of the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; whisk in soda water. Whisk in butter and egg yolks; cover and let stand for 2 hours.
In separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff not not dry. Fold into batter. Place bowl in larger bowl of ice water; let stand until cold, about 15 minutes.
Peel and core apples. Cut into ½ half inch cubes. Toss with remaining flour. Fold into batter.
Meanwhile, in deep fryer, work or wide saucepan, heat about 2 inches oil unter deep-fry thermomenter reads 350 degrees F. Using ¼ cup measure, pur in batter, 4 at a time.
Fry, turning once, until golden, 3 – 4 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm.