I love cooking and food; I always have and I think I always will! My earliest memories involve food. I remember riding in the front of the grocery cart and my mom handing me a cold hot dog (do you remember those yummy sausages?) Not a hot dog like today but back when they were called “wurst”; they had flavor and texture.
I remember walking into my Grandma Zacher’s kitchen on Sundays and that smell of roast chicken and pork and dumplings; sitting up on the kitchen counter right next to my mom, who was standing at the stove. I would chatter away as she cooked whatever amazing thing happened to be in the pots that night.
The best part of fall was pulling apple strudel dough with my mom and grandma. As my grandma would say, “you need to pull it thin enough that you can read a newspaper through it”. I was 14 when I made my first wedding cake. God bless my mom for allowing me to do that and never saying “you can’t make a 6-layer wedding cake for 400 people in Wisconsin in summer when you have never even made a small wedding cake!” She just supported me. As a freshman in college, I dropped out and went to the local community college for restaurant management and, as I suspected, I loved it. Once again, my mom supported me.
When you have never even made a small wedding cake!” She just supported me. As a Freshman in college, I dropped out and went to the local community college for restaurant management and as I suspected I loved it. Once again, my mom supported me.
30 years ago, I was managing restaurants for two amazing women. Their beliefs were so far ahead of the time. We hired adults with special needs, served farm-to-table foods, embraced local ingredients, and invested in local artists by rotating the art in the restaurant. It was my passion. Then came babies, and not just any babies. Each kid had their own delays (I don’t know if “delays” is the right word to use here).
Paige needed speech and OT starting at age 2, following a diagnosis of Apraxia and other delays. By then, we had Nicholas. We knew after his first ultrasound that it was likely that Nicholas could potentially have severe health issues. When he was born, there were many concerns and, by 4, a diagnosis of Autism. Then it was a sure thing, I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. We really had no choice. A few years later came my baby Drew.
Drew was a puzzle from the beginning! He was a happy, awesome kid, but the things that bothered him really bothered him! He was a highly sensitive kid who was crazy smart but had sensory issues and speech delays, so we were 3 for 3!
From our first child, jump ahead 25 years! Two young adults graduated from college with honors and one young man who is a freshman in college. So what happens now?
We start Sensory Cooking! I am not a chef (although sometimes my friends call me one, so I always chuckle a little in my head). I am a mom who loves to cook and who loves to teach others about appreciating food. No fancy food, just good or maybe great food. My other passion lies in helping kids and adults with different learning abilities.
For the last ten years, we have run a nonprofit called Kids with Autism Can and I think Sensory Cooking will blend perfectly with our other goals. All of our kids love food and cooking, but especially Nicholas (our son with Autism). He has a degree in Film, so creating food videos is such fun for both of us.