Carolyn is a mother from Australia whose 10-year-old son has high-functioning autism with sensory needs. She struggled to feed him meat because he couldn’t tolerate the texture.
When she got her Nomiku, she started cooking a lot more savory dishes, but she also found an “unexpected benefit” (besides her husband eating less takeout): Her son was now able to eat more meat. Carolyn’s son not only tolerated but came to enjoy eating meat because of the tender sous vide texture.
Carolyn was kind enough to share this guest blog post with us about how she continues to use Nomiku to feed her family—with one of her favorite sous vide recipes too!
Many people with autism are particularly sensitive to food tastes and textures. Imagine that your taste perception is ten times stronger than it is right now. Imagine that certain textures are amplified to the extent that they feel extra slimy, make your skin feel numb or crawl, and frighteningly trigger the gag reflex. Imagine a kid at a restaurant whose parents read through every menu item; ask detailed questions of the staff about ingredients and preparation; and request a custom order for their child from the adult menu. This kid isn’t “fussy”. Not “spoiled”. This child faces the potential for an extreme challenge of his sensory system that may put his body and brain into fight or flight mode. This is why our son with autism expresses food preferencing.
When we ordered the Nomiku we had no idea how much this compact and easy-to-use kitchen appliance would increase the variety and volume of food our son would willingly consume. He went from eating two teaspoons of meat at age 9 (with difficulty) to downing entire fillet steaks the moment they hit his plate. We had never seen him eat so much protein in his life. He finds the softer texture of proteins cooked sous vide much more palatable and far easier to chew.
Creme brulee and mousse are quite poular with Carolyn’s family – Photo courtesy of Carolyn
The Nomiku makes it easy to prepare separate versions of the same fundamental food at the same time. Our son prefers plain food with either no or very few added flavours, unlike the rest of the family who enjoy extensive use of herbs, spices, and sauces. Our son particularly loves plain proteins, plain poached pears, plain carrots, and crème brûlée prepared with the Nomiku, not to mention decadent chocolate mousse using sous vide eggs!
Pasteurizing eggs in their shells is easy (and possible!) with the Nomiku. Our son has a lowered immune system, so being able to vastly reduce the potential for salmonella gut issues has been wonderful. Nomiku has given us the required fine control to ensure that all sous vide food he consumes has reduced levels of salmonella, listeria, and e. coli right the way through to the food’s core.
Pork belly getting ready to sous vide! – Photo courtesy of Carolyn
We have the Nomiku team to thank for our son’s increased intake of a greater variety of foods. Without the ‘nom nom’, we’d still be struggling to increase his nutritional intake to healthy levels. We had such wonderful success with the first Nomiku that we ordered a second for cooking vegetables and fruits alongside the one used for proteins.
It’s well over a year since we began our sous vide journey. The Nomiku has kept many meals hot for a worker who frequently ends up working an extra few hours every evening. No more microwaved rubbery food, or take-away. It’s been used for church catering to provide the some of the most flavorful chicken breasts they’ve ever experienced.
Carolyn’s Intense Sous Vide Chocolate Mousse (a family favorite)
Traditionally, chocolate mousse is made using raw egg, which is a key element for the texture and richness of the mousse. This creates a dilemma for people who want chocolate mousse (i.e. everyone), but are avoiding raw egg yolks for health reasons (such as pregnancy). Fortunately, cooking sous vide enables us to pasteurize the eggs, leaving them essentially raw but completely negating the risk of food-borne pathogens such as salmonella. Chocolate mousse for all!