Posted 20 hours ago

The Autism-Friendly Cookbook

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Coach in the Kitchen” Autism Cookbook Coach in the Kitchen is a one-of-a-kind cookbook, designed for those on the autism spectrum. I want to preface this by saying that l am an experienced cook, who was privileged to receive an education in food as I was growing up. We've carefully selected ingredients and recipes that are low in sugar and carbs, ensuring that you're serving up wholesome, nutritious meals that won't lead to energy spikes and crashes.

This excellent cookbook, “Coach in the Kitchen”, provides explicit, detailed food preparation and cooking instructions for recipes that my son can follow independently. I can ostensibly read without assistance, despite being a full-time glasses wearer – with a pretty strong prescription for the lenses I have.I had always found this activity immensely difficult, but no one had ever suggested that being autistic may have had any kind of connection. What I thought was excellent about the methods is nothing is assumed; everything is explained but the reader isn’t patronised at all. It was a way to make friends, apparently – my social skills are not the best, after all – but I would argue people just talked to me because of the prospect of free cake. And if someone criticizes that delicious, chocolate sponge cake you tried to create, because you turned it into something that looked a little like a monster to cover up some not very noticeable flaws, they can always go without a slice. I LOVE the concept because I really struggle with having the energy to cook but the recipes seemed to be mostly high energy level recipes (one recipe is 12 hours long!

Back in 2015 – at the age of 16 – I was diagnosed as an Autistic person, having spent an inordinate amount of time being tested for unrelated conditions. Steve Silberman, author, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity A delightful guide full of important information for neurodivergent foodies - we've needed this for years! When I bought the book I did not realize the author was from the United Kingdom, so there was some phrases and terminology that I was not used to hearing. Not all autistic individuals will struggle – but I’d argue that those who don’t are extraordinarily lucky, and probably the product of a degree of privilege, such as if someone in a supporting role has had the time to teach and adapt to your specific needs.

Between the first and second lockdown in the UK, I was made aware that I was eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a kind of disability benefit. It is not related to work, is not means tested, and Autism counts legally as a disability, thanks to the Equality Act. The Autism Friendly Cookbook will be out on November 21st this year and the team at Perfectly Autistic has a recipe in it too. I have a degree of privilege in that I am able to speak and engage with people; this is so often reflected by the surprise people express when they find out I am autistic. This seems to so often be dismissed as "typical teenage angst" – whatever that means – when there is an actual underlying reason.

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