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The OARacle Newsletter

Just in time for holiday gift giving, there’s a new book for autistic people that is practical and just right for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. With loads of good advice and 100 recipes, the Autism-Friendly Cookbook has been described as the “first cookbook for autistic people.”

British journalist Lydia Wilkins, who is autistic, noted in an article in Metro UK that she wanted to provide a “guide book to the kitchen and cooking, for individuals like me. Written by someone who understands.” She writes in the article that preparing fresh meals from scratch daily is “supremely difficult.” It was that difficulty and a personal challenge that drove her to create a cookbook. As she was writing it, she notes in an article on the Mashable website, “many autistic people spoke or wrote to me about how they did not learn how to cook or prepare food because lessons were not accessible.”

The cookbook includes 100 recipes, 30 of them contributed by autistic people. Recipes are grouped into categories by meal. Each recipe includes the amount of time it will take from start to finish and also indicates how much energy it will take, so there is something that can be made on low-energy or meltdown days, for example. The recipes also offer adaptations and options to make a dish vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free. Additional modifications are provided for those who are sensory seekers, sensory avoiders, or who want to expand their repertoire in the kitchen. The recipes include U.S. measurements and terms.

The book also contains helpful tips and advice for parents and teachers looking to find out more.

In an excerpt from the book in the Mashable article, Wilkins writes “Understanding yourself – what you find difficult or easy, your preferred textures, your sensory profile, possible triggers for distress – can have a hugely positive impact, as we can start to help ourselves when it comes to adapting the kitchen and making food accessible. We will be delving more into this in the next chapter, by way of ‘lifting the lid’ on all things sensory. It can be difficult, and there is never just a stage of ‘I have learned everything.’ We are all works in progress, after all.”

Note: This article is not an endorsement by OAR of the Autism-Friendly Cookbook, and OAR has no relationship with the cookbook writer. This Community News feature offers news about topics that may be of interest to our readers.

Sherri Alms is the freelance editor of The OARacle, a role she took on in 2007. She has been a freelance writer and editor for more than 20 years.