I love cooking and can spend hours in the kitchen chopping, mixing, blending and tasting aiming to create a dish that will delight my diners.
I’m not as enthusiastic about baking, but the whole idea of creating tasty food that others can enjoy is one of my hobbies. I do own several utensils: some even electric, but part of the pleasure for me is feeling the ingredients succumb to a good knife or whisk.
The best tool a cook can have is a sharp knife. I only ever use three knives but it has taken me years to find the right ones and as I get older an important factor is the grip on the handle. I have had a few accidents over my culinary career; usually they involve a knife slipping. I am lucky to still have two thumbs, but my grip has been affected.
There are many who have far worse disabilities and still aspire to chop at the same speed as the television chefs, however, for many this can be a challenge too far.
Arthritis and rheumatism can make the simplest tasks from cracking an egg to slicing an onion very difficult. This can make preparing fresh meals a problem and compromise health if you have to rely on ready meals which can be high in salt and fat though low in nutrients.
Sore hands can struggle to hold bulky vegetables, so get someone to hammer rust-proof nails into a chopping board so that you can spear veg first, Or buy a chopping board with built-in spikes.
Raw vegetables that are tough to chop can be pre-cooked. Microwave or bake them until they are soft enough to cut.
Buy a mezzaluna, a half-moon-shaped blade that you rock from side to side with both hands to chop herbs.
Normal graters can be difficult to hold, so invest in a rotary one that lets you do the job by twisting a handle.
If your grip is poor, don’t empty hot water from pans. Use a draining spoon to lift vegetables out, and then let the water cool. Love your microwave – it can be safely used for everything from steaming fish and cooking porridge to making hot drinks.
Use a colander that stands alone in the sink or hooks over it. Choose pans that are light and double-handed. Or easy grip saucepans, which have specially designed handles.
When you’re making sandwiches, soften the butter and blend with the filling – it halves the spreading.
Make twice as much of your favourite dish as you need and freeze for another time.
Place a cloth under a mixing bowl to stop it slipping so you can use both hands to mix with your spoon.
Keep baking essentials in lightweight canisters with easy-to-open tops, and don’t store on a high shelf in case you lose your grip.
There are many tools and utensils on the market to make life easier and safer in the kitchen so have a look around in your local kitchen shop or search on line for a wide selection.
Image of mezzaluna courtesy of Cthoe and of baking by ParentingPatch at wikimedia.org