I am not synaesthete, unlike a friend of mine, who also happens to be Aspie. I merely gravitate towards certain colours in particular contexts, and my mind does form some rather strong sensory associations, especially with colours. For example, try as I may, I cannot like the colour blue. Sure, I love looking at the sky, but the sky is the sky, in my mind, it is an entity that happens to be blue-ish, just like water. Somehow, in the grand library of things, my brain does not ‘shelve’ the sky and water together with the colour blue. I have no idea why, and I haven’t yet spent time researching this.
Anyhow, the colour blue makes me feel uneasy, and the dark, muggy purple triggers mild nausea – with the exception of denim blues, for some reason denim is ok, and glossy patent rich purple is ok too. In contrast, I am extremely attracted to red, especially bright red. Red is almost an addiction, really. I am also partial to strong colours, usually but not confined to the bright, almost acidic.
I love red in food, red in paintings, red in clothes, furniture – almost everything! I once hung bright red window curtains in my bedroom, but I had to take them down because they were so bright, they gave me hallucinogenic headaches!
I mused about addiction in another post, and it was about tomato juice. Of course, red, bright red too. I am also crazy about tomatoes. But it isn’t only about the colour, of course, taste has much to do with my sensory attractions and aversions. (And yes, there are also studies about colour and taste in food, but this post isn’t about that at all.) I tend to wallow deep in my food addictions, surf for hours on visual sites like Pinterest, and cuddle and stroke my lovely Lucy a lot when I am suffering from an anxiety episode – and recently, this has been an almost daily occurrence (but no, this post is not about the details of my current state of anxiety). Isn’t this what addiction is all about, anyway? Here, I am reaching for certain ‘positive’ sensory stimulations to quell the effects of other ‘negative’ sensorial triggers.
Today, I went a tad off the edge with tomato again. After another meal of congee and chicken, I developed a craving for yet another tomato (I had one early at lunchtime too). My other latest craze / addiction is sesame oil. It is a returning spectre from my past. These things do tend to recur, they never go away, the addiction cycles, they return, just like popular fashions and trends! Sesame oil has a distinct, cogent taste and almost intoxicating fragrance. Visually, it reflects light better and is shinier than olive or flaxseed oil (I mentioned these two because I have them in my kitchen and fridge, and I used them in my food a lot). To me, sesame oil pouring from bottle to spoon seems lush, and the way it bounces on the surface of the spoon triggers associations with the word ‘dancing’ in my mind! Two minor obsessions are light soy sauce (sharper, saltier than the dark), and mozarella cheese. I don’t buy mozarella much nowadays, because it is more expensive than the saltier and texturally ‘muggier,’ more powdery cheddar, but this time, I treated myself and indulged in the extravagance ($1.70 more!).
So, here they are, my current major and minor ‘addictions’ together in one plate, and I must confess, the taste is something fabulous too!
Right, I can hear some people wondering aloud about the contrast and seemingly contradictory concepts of hypersensitivity and extremely strong tasting food. Someone once asked me, “If you really have hypersensitivity, why do you like strong tastes so much? How could you eat stuff like Blue Cheese and raw, fresh shucked oysters?” Well, the answer is not immediately clear in my head, but you can, if you’re really interested, turn to Google. All I can safely say right now is many autistic people with hypersensitivity do have very deep and intense sensory attractions and aversions, but these vary from person to person. Another interesting phenomena to explore further, some day, some time, when I have the time to meander even further afield.
P.S. Don’t you just love the contrasts between the bright red tomato, pale yellow mozarella and deep brown soy sauce, all coated in shiny sesame oil? Mmmmmiam!