Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
Deciding what items to purchase when you are a visually impaired cook is a difficult task. Companies have developed a large number of products making the choice of which items to purchase a task involving research, investigation, and contacting knowledgeable individuals for assistance. Asking for assistance can help you avoid purchasing products that do not help you and usually have to be returned.
Here is a list of low-vision products I use for cooking in my home.
1. The Original Gripper is a cutting board with suction cups on the bottom that prevent the cutting board from moving while in use.
2. Extra long oven mitts designed to protect from the hand to the elbow. The elbow length oven mitts make removing items from a hot oven easier. I tend to drop my arm when reaching into the oven burning my upper arm on the oven door. The long oven mitt prevents a burn from the oven door.
3. The Pot Watcher is an item used to help a person with low-vision to hear when water in a pot starts boiling. I love this product because I can no longer see when water boils in a pot and would place my ear near the pot to listen for sounds of water boiling and have steamed my ear. The product looks and feels like the top of a can removed by a can opener. The item is placed in the pot of water as the water starts to boil the Pot Watcher begins to bounce making a banging sound alerting the visually impaired person that the water is boiling.
4. Ez Fill is an item designed to help a person with low-vision to pour liquid into a container without overflowing the container. The EZ Fill sits on the rim of a container like a slice of fruit sits on the rim of the glass of your favorite drink. The product has two metal prongs with sensors, which detect hot or cold temperatures. When a liquid poured into a container touches the probes, an alarm sounds informing the visually impaired person that the container is full. I like to use this product when filling containers with medium to large openings. I experience difficulty when using the EZ Fill to pour liquid into a small container such as a coffee cup. Individuals with better pouring skills may find the EZ fill useful when pouring into all types of containers. My coordination when pouring is lacking.
5. Rocking “T” Knife is an interesting shaped knife designed to make chopping or cutting easier for individuals with low-vision. The knife has a handle shaped like the handle of a briefcase. The knife blade is in the shape of a semi-circle. In other words, if a circle were cut in half, the straight edge or the cut edge of the circle would be connected to the handle leaving the circular side as the cutting edge of the knife. If you used the knife to cut a carrot you would place the cutting edge of the knife against the side of the carrot and simply roll the knife forward and backward to cut the carrot. The rocking forward and rolling backward motion of the knife is easier for me as a visually impaired person than the customary up and down cutting motion
6. Extra long handle wooden spoon is one item I use regularly in the kitchen. Everyone who cooks knows that you should never use a metal spoon on a metal or surface treated pot. The possibility of small pieces of metal or surface treatment particles being scraped off into the food is very possible. The wooden spoon with the extra long handle gives a visually impaired person more room for gripping the handle of the spoon and makes stirring the contents of a pot easier.
7. WestMark is the makers of an interesting set of tongs. The tongs are constructed by placing a flat spatula and a spoon attached with a metal clip, which allows the arms of the tong to raise and lower the spoon and spatula. Using a spatula and spoon in a tong format makes gripping items easier. The ends of most tongs are narrow and sharp making it difficult to turn items such as a hamburger Patti. Using the WesMart tongs the wide flat edge of the spatula with the spoon on top provides an easier method for turning items. The extra flat surface and spoon shape gives a person with low-vision more support for turning food while cooking. The spoon and spatula are made of plastic.
If vision loss is taking away your joy of cooking then you need to find tools and equipment designed to help the visually disabled with cooking. If you take the time to discover what products will assist you and learn some new techniques you can continue doing an activity you love.
**The items discussed in this article were gifts provided by an organization called PACE. PACE supports disabled groups in my area.
**I have not received any form of payment for writing this article.