As many of you know, over the years I have written about our son’s difficulty with food. From the very beginning with his texture sensitivity with food, apraxia and sensory processing difficulties… food has not been a friend to him. He is now 13 ½ years old and he finally looks at food as something to look forward to and not something to fear.
It all started a couple of months ago when he started to watch the Food network and Cooking Channel with me. Mind you, I do cook quite a lot at home but he was never interested in watching me or tasting my dishes….trust me I asked him on many occasions to taste what I was cooking and he refused with vigor!! I haven’t pushed food in the past several years because he’s older and that window had closed, so I secretly hoped that someday that window would re-open again. Well sure enough, I was watching Brunch at Bobby’s one day and he was making scrambled eggs, my son looked at it and said, “That looks good!” I was shocked to hear him say that because I’ve made it many times at home and he was never interested in trying it. I asked him if he would like me to make some for him and he said yes. So I made him one egg the next morning with salt a pepper and he tasted it and said, “Yuck.” I told him to try it again and he did and after the second bite he said, “Yeah….I could eat that!” He ended up eating half the egg that morning. Fast forward to present day, he now eats three scrambled eggs mixed with cheddar cheese in one sitting. Someday if I ever see Bobby Flay, I have to thank him for inspiring my son to eat scrambled eggs!! So it began, our son’s love of food.
Not long after that, he began to sit down with me and watch more cooking shows. Not only does he watch with me now but he scrolls through the guide and sets different ones to record. Some of his favorites to watch are BBQ Addiction, Brunch at Bobby’s and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. With this new interest in food, I realized my window had swung wide open and I was going to take advantage as much as possible! Every time we watched a show I would ask him if he thought he could eat that, his answers varied. I was secretly gathering information to begin my process of what I like to call, “Food is your friend.”
I started researching on-line and pulling out recipes I thought he might be willing to try. The types of food varied from steak, pulled pork, grilled chicken, turkey, pasta and fish. The deal I made with him was that he could taste it and if he was willing to eat it, he only had to eat a little bit. In addition, he could have a side of something else that he already eats, like Mac n cheese or chicken tenders. As usual with him, it takes a while to process new things, so after the first bite he usually says, “No.” However, knowing this about him I tell him to take a second bite and after that, he changes his mind because he has had time to process the taste and texture of the new food. Also, a side of ketchup with all protein has definitely helped make the transition easier.
This past week alone, he has eaten grilled shrimp, fried rice, tilapia (not breaded) and pasta with pesto sauce for the first time and he liked them all. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe he would eat any of these foods! I can finally make one meal for all three of us. We also have a lot more options when we go out for dinner as well. I can’t say for sure what happened to finally allow him to embrace and enjoy food. Was it all those cooking shows or the fact that his sensory and texture sensitivity to food has diminished greatly, or maybe it’s a little bit of both. In any event, I am truly grateful that for the first time in our son’s life, Food has gone from Foe to Friend.