What’s with the name?
To explain the reasoning behind Noodle Bake, we have to venture into some background information. One of the Human Noodles here, James, has mild autism – what this means for him, is that he struggles to socialise, grab things with a tight hold (i.e. blowing his nose or mixing cake batter), speak slowly and concisely, or even handle many food flavours or textures.
As a consequence, his diet is very limited. Plain, crunchy food is mainly what he can handle (although he will not touch those crunchy, hard, hot chippies!) – cereal with no milk? Yes please! With milk? No thanks. However, James has recently been working with disability support people, who have been teaching him independence skills… such as cooking! James had upgraded from fish fingers in the microwave (“soggy fish isn’t crunchy!” you might say!), to cooking noodles using hot water and the stove – with chicken flavour too!
This was a major development for him. Since then he’s started eating ice cream, mash potatoes, more vegetables, mince… yes, still limited, but we’re close! Essentially, this all came from that one meal that we were all so surprised with – noodles.
You’re probably still wondering how this all relates; basically it comes down to our mission. James loves to bake – or to be more specific, he loves to help – especially when we’re baking something chocolate or vanilla ice cream related! So when thinking of a mission for our food blog, we decided to dedicate it to James. Noodles + baking = Noodle Bake… Not about a casserole meal made with noodles!
Becca, Hayley & James at Noodle Bake, all propose to bring awareness to anxiety, depression and autism. Further to that, we wish to expand to bringing awareness and acceptance of all mental health and disability aspects.
By focusing on learning and experimenting with baking creations, Hayley & Becca bring themselves down to a level where they simply have to practice and learn the necessary skills for complex baking. We will show all failures, and all learning, and all successes with our baking journey, in order to show just a fraction of what it is like for James in everyday life.
Additionally, as Hayley & Becca have suffered from mental health issues, putting themselves out there and showing how they can accept and push through their trials will bring awareness to that area.
The challenge for them on Noodle Bake, is to be themselves – be confident to act silly, act serious, and to show that they actually do know something about baking.
Finally, as the blog and baking becomes work, it will teach them valuable skills in working hard and perseverance.
Becca is the eldest of four children, with James being one of them! She has had an interest in baking from a young age; and has developed a hobby in cake decorating with her best friend, Hayley, in their teenage years.
Becca has suffered social anxiety for most of her life, and has worked hard to reach a level where she can feel comfortable saying she’s shy – there are still moments, where the anxiety overwhelms and exhausts her, but they are not as frequent as they once were.
Additionally, Becca has Pyrrole Disorder (pyroluria) – at a level of 27 – which has resulted in many different symptoms. The two main symptoms are a vulnerability to anxiety and an inability to handle stress. As a result, anxiety and stress have negatively impacted Becca’s health on a number of occasions: causing her constant nausea & rapid weight loss to the point of having to go on a strict diet, and back problems due to all the tension she has put her body through.
Hayley is the cousin of Becca & James – and Becca’s best friend since birth! Just like Becca, Hayley loves to bake – in fact, she started out as a young apprentice for her mum when they made plenty of delicious creations from Cadbury’s chocolate cook book.
Another aspect that helps Hayley in her baking creations, is her perfectionism! If something isn’t straight, in order… or well… perfect, it has to be fiddled with! Lastly, Hayley also wishes to experiment with creating nerdy goodies – as a gamer and movie fan (she fits in well with her cousins!), this is an area where Noodle Bake will have the most fun.
As a human noodle, Hayley wishes to bring awareness to inabilities with coping with stress, anxiety caused by trauma, and being genetically predisposed to bouts of depression. One major thing that both Hayley & Becca want to show, is that there is a big difference from being a stress head, to being unable to handle stress. A stress head will stress about everything – and while they both do that… a lot, they also cannot cope with the internal turmoil that stress brings.
Finally, Hayley’s experiences with depression & anxiety have been as a result of traumatic events, however depression is one that she was genetically predisposed to. What this means is that when a major event happens to Hayley, where the outcome is negative, she is more likely to take it in as traumatic and become depressed.
Unfortunately for Hayley, it is not a matter of medication or a healthy diet to help her break free; rather a lot of CBT, counselling and support from those around her that help her overcome the trauma.
James is the 2nd eldest child, after Becca, and is, of course, Hayley’s cousin. James has mild autism, and isn’t high functioning – what this means, is that his autism is visible from the moment you meet him. Which actually isn’t bad at all! Due to the autism, there are a few things that James finds difficult: speaking clearly & concisely and moving his attention from one thing to another.
James has been building his independence skills via a disability support group – they teach him work skills, interpersonal skills, and other social skills. As a result, James gets work experience at a local Woolworths; he tidies up the stock on the shelves, and gets to pack goods in the bakery section! He was personally commended by the Woolworths manager for his hard work and helping hand.
In addition to that, he’s had experience working in a plant nursery, goes on excursions that encourage socialising and as mentioned earlier, increased the variety in his diet with new meals to cook!