Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food, part 1

PhotobucketLike a lot of people with Asperger's syndrome, I was a picky eater as a child. Actually, that's an understatement. I basically lived on meat, potatoes (mashed or French fries), white bread, and milk until I was in my 20s.

The only leafy vegetable I would eat was lettuce, and I would only eat it with oil-and-vinegar dressing. Put any other kind of dressing on a salad, and I would refuse to eat it. I absolutely loathed cucumbers. Usually my mother would make my salad separately, but once she tried to save time by making a big salad with cucumbers and just plucked out some of the lettuce for my portion. I couldn't eat it. "This is gross, it tastes like cucumbers!" I said. My dish had no cucumber slices in it, and I didn't see her mixing the salad, but the whole thing had that repulsive cucumber aroma. It was contaminated.

I would eat raw carrots once in a while, but not cooked carrots -- too mushy, or even worse, mushy on the outside and firm but not crunchy on the inside. Disgusting. I wouldn't eat peas or any kind of beans. I would eat corn, but only on the cob. No creamed corn or canned corn. No broccoli, no Brussels sprouts, no turnips, no radishes, no cauliflower, no tomatoes. I'd eat celery now and then, but only raw stalks, never cooked and never cut up in a salad or something.

I liked potatoes, but I preferred them mashed (instant mashed, actually, because I didn't like the lumps in real mashed potatoes) or French fried. I could tolerate boiled or baked potatoes.

The only fruits I'd eat were apples (if they were peeled and sliced; I never ate whole or unpeeled apples), grapes (green and seedless only), strawberries, and occasionally an orange. I never ate bananas, pears, peaches, or plums. I ate blueberries once when I was five and liked them, but I had no desire to ever eat them again.

For desert, I would eat cookies, cakes, pudding, Jell-o, and ice cream. But I wouldn't eat a cake with coconut on it (or any cake but chocolate, if I had a choice), any kind of pudding except chocolate, or any kind of ice cream but chocolate and vanilla. I wouldn't eat pie, unless it was a chocolate pie. I ate most kinds of candy, but not black licorice. But I did I like potato chips, Fritos, and pretzels.

I liked all kinds of meat, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, as long as nothing too exotic was done to it. It had to recognizable as meat. I wouldn't eat salami, for example, because it was spicy and salty at the same time. I also wouldn't eat cheese. And I wouldn't eat meat that had any kind of sauce on it. Gravy was OK, but not other sauces.

I didn't like foods to be mixed together. I never ate a slice of pizza or a taco, for example, until I was in high school. The only kind of sandwich I would eat was grape jam on white bread. I would eat hamburgers and hot dogs, but only if they had nothing on them but ketchup. Once some family friends took me to the zoo or somewhere, and for lunch they got me a regular hamburger, not "ketchup only." I literally gagged when I bit into it and there was a pickle inside. (I also refused to finish my French fries after a fly landed on them.)

That was the state of my diet until I was about 13 or 14. Things began to change then, and eventually, in my 20s, I became a "normal" eater. Next time, I'll explain how that happened.


  1. I agree with you about the contamination factor of cucumbers, but for me the culprit is bell pepper.

    You can't just pick bell pepper out of something. It's totally ruined after the bell pepper touches it.

    Onion, too.

  2. I'll write about this in detail in part 2, but I actually got over my cucumber aversion. Pickles are another story, though.


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