I have always been a picky eater.
I do not like tomatoes. They are slimy and tough at the same time.
I do not like avocados. They are mushy.
I do not like red and green bits in my food, especially if I do not know what they are.
I do not like celery. (If celery has been anywhere near my food, if it has touched my food (at school in the dorms, the carrots and celery were next to each other in the salad bar and sometimes were together!), I can tell, and it makes the food disgusting.)
I do not like my foods to mix if they have different flavors (I'm more ok with it now, such as if it is a stir-fry where they all have the same sauces). (Or you can build walls of rice between them, and then the flavors get on the rice instead of on each other, and that is ok).
And there are more strange food issues, too.
Because I am a picky eater, I like making my own food.
When I cook, I am in charge of what I am eating (and I do love eating, just only certain things). Even if the recipe says to add bell peppers, if I don't like bell peppers, I AM NOT PUTTING THEM IN. (Or not cook with a recipe that includes bell peppers.) If I want to have all the tomatoes pureed so that you can get the flavor without the texture, I can. Over time, I've learned what things can and what things really shouldn't be substituted for (mostly due to my father's adventures in recipe-free cooking, but also due to reading A LOT, especially about the various reactions in baking). I like the freedom to make things just the way I want them.
Now the way I cook is very methodical. I love cooking (and eating), so I (the summers I lived in an apartment, and the way I assume I will work this out once I move to my new apartment) would make lists of all the delicious recipes I encountered that week during my procrastination time (foodgawker.com is one of my favorite websites ever). Food/cooking/baking/eating the results is probably one of my special interests.
Then Saturdays were for planning out menus and meals. We liked to plan them so we didn't have any awkward amounts of ingredients left (sometimes you have to use less of a perishable ingredient that you can buy, so we would plan 2 recipes that week with it). We would go through the lists of delicious things we had found and figure out which foods to put on each days. We would usually plan on 3 meals, a fancy weekend breakfast, and several baking sprees, with plans to eat leftovers* or grilled cheese sandwiches (the absolute best meal in the world ever) the other days.
Once we had made a menu, then we would make our grocery list. We would go through the cabinets and look up all the ingredients we needed and make lists of the ones we didn't have. The lists were sorted the same way grocery stores are: fruits, canned goods, pastas, baking supplies, dairy products, etc.
Sunday was grocery store shopping day. It was very efficient. Went down each aisle no more than once, got everything we needed for the week.
And then we had our meals planned out for the weeks and directions for them.
And there was no need to go back to the store.**
And then all that needed to be done each night was cook the meal planned for that day. We had all the ingredients and all the directions. And because dinner is in my schedule and routine, I remember to eat. It was a lovely, extremely functional routine.
*It takes a while to get used to cooking small amounts of food. My father still labors under the impression that he is cooking for 10 people instead of 5 (the number of people actually in our family AKA really the only number he has had to cook for larger than himself). As in, we can usually invite an entire (additional) family of 5 over to dinner without telling my father, because there will be enough food. And probably leftovers. So with recipes like that, it is clear that I had issues getting portion size down to 2.
**Except we usually had to, since we rode bikes to the store, and therefore could only carry limited amounts of milk. And I consume large amounts of milk. But that was easy to pick up on the ride back. Also, that was why this ritual was weekly, since the backpacks+handlebars carrying ability limited us to a little more than 3 bags/person (backpacks can usually fit more than one grocery bag-full).
Labels: autistic?, cooking, food, me, organization, special interest