Cooking with Low Vision

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Low vision can make cooking ‘exciting,’ with all of the chopping, heated surfaces, and clear glass items just waiting to be knocked over. Below, I list a few ideas that help me in the kitchen, if you’d like to see:

1) Less glass and ceramics.

I’ve broken so many glasses and chipped so many ceramic dishes. Once, I launched a pyrex container full of black beans off the kitchen counter and boom—an explosion of beans and shards across the floor. I try to avoid buying new glass items—especially clear glass—and I’ve accepted that anything made of this breakable substance will likely meet its demise at my hands. On a related note, I also keep a dust pan handy.

In lieu or glass, I’ve found some stainless steel items that are working great, including these drinking cups. And I’m a fan of these durable an inexpensive dishes for daily use.

2) More light.

I do any chopping right in front of the brightest light in the kitchen, which sometimes requires me to move things around. Chopping anywhere else, though, would be risky at this point. 

3) A heavy-duty oven mitt and pot-holder.

I got these babies (oven mitt and pot holder) and they work pretty well. Not the most aesthetically-pleasing kitchen accessories, but they’re like silicon armor. I like mitts, just to ensure that every part of my hand and lower arm is covered.

4) A dang flashlight so I can see the dang temperature on the oven.

My oven (shown above) is OLD and the numbers on the dial are not only teeny, but they’re also faded. I keep a flashlight in the drawer next to the oven (and sometimes I just use the flashlight function on my phone) to make sure I set the oven to the right temperature.

5) Some items to make chopping easier. 

  • sharp knives (if hand-chopping is still an option)

  • non-slip cutting boards

  • mandolin for big chopping jobs (this is the mother of mandolins)

  • this funny avocado tool (it’s a little overkill, but I use it to take out the pits when the avocado isn’t as ripe as i had hoped)

I’m also buying some pre-cut items, especially vegetables. The problem is that pre-chopped items tend to cost a little more, plus they tend to be wrapped in lots of plastic, so this is neither the most environmental or economic option. I figure if it keeps me from chopping off my fingers and helps me to eat my veggies, it’s an okay solution for now.

6) Hands-free timer.

Some phones have an option to access your timer with your voice. For instance, with my iPhone, I can say “OK Siri” and then tell it to “Set the timer for 22 minutes.” Devices like a Google Home or an Amazon Echo do the same, provided they’re the kind that are always ‘listening’ and not touch activated.

7) Recipes

Does anyone have solutions for easy recipe reading? I like to read on back-lit screens, so I’ll view recipes on a phone or iPad. I really like youtube videos for recipes, as well.

8) Take it slow.

I try to remind myself not to rush, that it’s no big deal if it takes me 8 minutes longer to chop something. Putting on music or a podcast can help. And, of course, I ask for help when I need it, or I go with an easier meal.

What other solutions have helped you to cook with low vision? I’d love to hear.