Cooking With Asperger’s

Or “ass burgers,” the old “South Park” joke. I mean, since I’m cooking with it (them) …

A professional recently told me that I may have Asperger’s. Actually, that’s not what he said. He asked, “Are you familiar with the symptoms of Asperger’s?” Or maybe he said “signs” instead of “symptoms.”

Nice. Subtle. Kind of like asking somebody who farts uncontrollably, “Are you familiar with the signs of killer flatulence?” But hey, the first step in solving a problem is to identify the problem.

Even though the professional is an auto mechanic who probably watches too much “South Park,” I bought a book about Asperger’s. I even read it.

Asperger’s is no longer a thing, because it’s now lumped together with everything else in the nebulous “autism spectrum disorder.” So if I were ever to be diagnosed, I’d have to tell people I have ASD and let them sort out whether I’m Rain Man or his a-hole brother, Charlie.

“Asperger’s” is essentially a scientific term for, “You’re a loner and nobody likes you.” Although I guess if I had to pick a mental disorder, I’d take this one. It certainly explains some things.

Such as why I named this blog “Things I’m Not Supposed to Say” before Asperger’s ever came up. Because one of the hallmarks of the Aspie personality is saying things others don’t want or like to hear. Oops!

An official diagnosis takes a lot of time and money. And it’s not very useful unless you want to collect disability. I don’t think things are that bad yet.

A diagnosis could come in handy if I had a boss who wanted to fire me for being annoying. I could counter with, “But that’s illegal! I’m disabled!” However, I’m currently my own boss, and I’m the best employee I’ve ever had.

So, do I have Asperger’s? I don’t know, but I’m cooking with it. And the results are uproarious.

Join me as I cook and eat my way through this latest exploration into my identity.

Kitchen Therapy

I recently tried a high-fat, low-carb diet and enjoyed it. I liked the food, I felt good, and the concept made sense to me. Unfortunately, I got a stomach bug a few weeks in and ate nothing but Wheat Thins and Coke for several days.

After I felt better, I considered going back on the low-carb plan. But I realized I had tons of carbs in my pantry. I’d already made a few trips to donate some of my unwanted food hoard and was too embarrassed to drop off more. (This is what happens when you shop Amazon Prime Pantry. And you have Asperger’s.)

I certainly wasn’t going to throw any food in the garbage, so this month, I decided to start a clean-out-the-pantry project. I have until the end of 2017 to use up at least 50 percent of what I started with. Then I’ll decide if I want to go back on a low-carb plan.

I’ve been having fun scouring my cookbooks and different websites for ideas. Most of the recipes I’ve tried have turned out yummy, or at least edible. That is, until tonight.

The Amaranth Ambush

I’m a wannabe vegetarian and go through phases where I don’t eat meat at all. Even when I ate low-carb, I didn’t eat meat very often–maybe once a week. I’m an animal-lover, which is apparently a sign of Asperger’s.

I do have some bacon and sausage in my freezer, though, so you may see those ingredients pop up now and then. Unless I get up the nerve to present one of my neighbors with a luscious holiday gift of 32 slices of fully cooked bacon.

Oh my gosh, where was I? Okay, so as a wannabe vegetarian, I was experimenting with different grains for variety. One thing that had been sitting in my pantry for months was a bag of amaranth.

Categorized as a grain because of the way it’s cooked and eaten, amaranth is actually a seed. Much like a cucumber is actually a fruit.

I found some amaranth recipes online and decided it was time to drain the lonely bag of amaranth. I’ve been pretty excited all day. Well, I was until I opened the bag.

Because amaranth smells a lot like bad hay.

My recipe of choice for the evening was amaranth-corn fritters. I’ll refrain from identifying the author and website because of my less-than-stellar review. The patties actually cooked up rather nicely.


Sort-of ingredients:

  • Severely freezer-burned corn
  • Cooked amaranth (“best by” June 2017)
  • Beaten egg
  • Milk
  • Chopped onion
  • Flour
  • Baking powder

I know what you’re thinking: The amaranth smells bad because it’s old. Nope! I googled “amaranth smells like mold” and found lots of discussions about its questionable odor.

Back to the recipe … I was so proud to have fried these to perfection. Strangely, the recipe showed the fritters topped with a white (yogurt? horseradish?) sauce, but I didn’t see any instructions for that part. I just topped my patties with butter.

Unfortunately, they taste like, er, corn-on-the-cob pancakes, if you can imagine that. Or something that a horse would take on a hiking trip. The taste isn’t as bad as the smell, but it’s not great either.

I thought of all the starving children in the world and ate my fritters. Sadly, even though I halved the recipe, I still have plenty of batter left for at least two more servings.

My Amaranth Rant Continued

Disheartened by my fritters, I frittered away more time by continuing to cook. I was determined not to end the day on an amaranth fail.

I went back to the same stupid website (probably because I have Asperger’s!) and found a recipe for amaranth bars. Hey, I’m always up for something sweet. This recipe calls for:

  • Popped amaranth
  • Honey
  • Agave syrup
  • Butter
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds (I didn’t have any, so I just added extra sunflower seeds)
  • Dried fruit (I used some golden-oldie raisins that were pretty stale and hard)

Amaranth can actually be popped, like popcorn, in a hot pan. What the recipe doesn’t clarify is that you need a pan with a lid or spatter guard. Because when the little seeds start to pop, they whizz and ricochet around the stove area like BB pellets.


(I apologize for the ginormous vertical shots.) The point is, there is now amaranth all over the kitchen: on the stove top, in the burner pans, and on the floor.

Here are my lovely amaranth bars, pressed into a pan and cooling.

1022171905My photography sucks, but give me a break–I probably have Asperger’s.

To be continued …