August 10, 2021
Published on Thursday 15 October, 2020
Michael studies the bright orange muffin mix for several moments before letting out a smile. It’s the seal of approval his Support Worker Tania has been waiting for.
“Ok, Michael. Let’s pour this into the patty pans.”
Tania pushes Michael closer to the bench so he can closely observe the action.
The orange muffin mix pops against the white and blue paper cases. Michael watches intently as Tania spoon fills each case. She presents the finished tray to Michael for inspection. He is happy with what he sees.
“Ok. We’ll put these in the oven now. Let’s see if you feel the warm air when I open the door.”
Michael’s senses embrace the warm air and he lifts his head up, which Tania knows shows his approval and happiness. With limited mobility and dexterity, the joy of cooking for Michael is through his experience of the colours, smells, sounds and sensations each new recipe brings.
Today’s Sweet Potato, avocado and feta muffin was a whirl of new experiences for Michael.
“He really enjoyed the colour of the cooked sweet potato and watching the avocados being blended. He enjoys bright colors and strong smells and gets a lot of happiness from the sensory stimulation.”
Making time to cook this way with Michael is important to Tania.
“It’s easy for people like Michael to be overlooked in this world. Making sure he is included in things, ensuring he doesn’t feel isolated and has joy in each day, is a part of my role I really enjoy. Seeing him smile – knowing he feels included, I love doing that.”
In 20 minutes, the muffins are ready, and people mill into the kitchen - drawn by the fresh warm smells. Tania presents a cooled muffin to Michael. Down on one knee with the muffin held out in front of her Michael looks up at her and smiles. Tania smiles back and laughs.
“It looks like I am proposing marriage with a muffin. That’s ok. He’s a good man.”
See more of Michael and Tania's sensory cooking in the picture gallery below.