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Son inspires cookbook that benefits special education

Mary Davidson's son Freddy was diagnosed with autism last December. Reminder Publications submitted photo
By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Mary Davidson, a baker at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, only works 42 to 44 weeks a year. It didn't take her long to figure out what to do to fill up her free time.

This summer, she put together 127 recipes for her first cookbook, "Freddy's Favorites: Vol. 1."

Who is Freddy? "He is a bright and shining star, a bundle of energy and wonder," according to Davidson's dedication. "He is the most incredible person I will ever know." Freddy is also Davidson's three-year-old son who was diagnosed with autism last December. He attends Meadowbrook Elementary School.

"Some of the recipes in the book I've used since I was a little girl and others I found online," Davidson explained. "I put the cookbook together because I wanted to raise money to help those with autism."

Davidson said sales have been good since she first released it at the end of August. Of the 400 copies she ordered, she estimates half of them have already been sold. And because this collection is titled "Volume 1," there may be a possibility for another book in the future.

Freddy's favorite recipes as hinted at in the title are found in the "Cookies & Candy" section of the cookbook. There are recipes for the favorite blonde brownie, favorite brownies, favorite chocolate chip cookies, favorite molasses cookie and favorite oatmeal raisin cookies.

"Brownies are the best thing in the world," Davidson said with a laugh.

Other recipe sections include "Main Dishes," "Breads & Rolls," "Desserts" and "This & That."

The books, selling for $10 each, are self-published. Proceeds from the sales will go toward the special education department at Meadowbrook. Freddy started going to school there this September.

"There is a great autism program at Meadowbrook," Davidson said. "I can't not speak highly of it."

One of Freddy's teachers, Heather Quinn, said the special education department has a limited budget. "We appreciate all the help we can get," she said.

There are currently 13 students at Meadowbrook with autism. Donations from the sales of Davidson's cookbook would help pay for more sensory objects in the classrooms and expanded curricula.

"These children have strong sensory needs," Quinn stated. "More sensory input brings about more verbal output."

The largest sensory object Quinn said she is hoping to buy with the donations is a platform swing for the classroom. She added the autistic students are much more verbal when they can feel the sensations of swinging.

"We can use that money for so many different goals," Quinn said.

"Freddy's Favorites: Vol. 1" is available at Wilbraham & Monson Academy's bookstore and by emailing Davidson at