Welcome to the second part of this series, the kitchen!
The kitchen is usually the heart of the home, families gather to eat and share about our day's events, friends gather and gossip over coffee, and of course if you're like me - you like baking and cooking.
But for some of us with low vision, especially those newly diagnosed, the kitchen can be a large source of frustration and accidents. It doesn't have to be that way and meal prep and cooking can be enjoyable again!
I'm listing a variety of tips and products for you to pick and choose from and they vary due to 1) amount of vision loss & 2) skill level in the kitchen.
If you're new to experiencing low vision, I highly recommend getting some independent living skills training.
Again, many of these tips can be found in my eBook.
Disclosure: Some text contains affiliate links and I may receive compensation from them.
As I mentioned in the first part of the series - the living room, the easiest adjustment for vision loss is to have less clutter.
Now, let's use the picture above as a good layout for a kitchen:
1) Lots of natural light as well as several lighting options throughout.
2) Cupboards and drawers have contrasting color handles and knobs for easy viewing.
3) Appliances are easy to notice between cupboards (I hate those makeovers where they cover the appliances with the same "covering" as the cupboards).
4) Paths are clear and chairs are tucked in properly - no tripping hazards. Also all cupboards and drawers are closed. (Number one rule in my kitchen).
5) It seems the kitchen table is the same color as the floor, you can remedy this by putting a contrasting table cloth on it, or using a contrasting area rug (secured to floor well) under the table.
This section is on prepping food and the different tips and products that will help you out.
Again, I encourage getting some independent living training to help boost your confidence and reduce your reliability on someone else. If you don't feel confident enough, please check out this correspondence course "Self-Esteem and Adjusting to Blindness" from the Hadley School.
1) Cut food in a well lit area, or use a small desk lamp for task lighting.
2) Use contrasting color cutting boards to highlight the food. Use a light colored cutting board for dark colored foods and a dark cutting board for light colored foods. (Please remember not to cross-contaminate).
3) Tuck the knife blade under the cutting board when not in use to prevent knocking if away and prevent cuts.
4) If you're not comfortable with your knife skills yet, you can opt for a manual dicer instead.
1) Be the one to put all the groceries away - that way you'll know what was bought, do any labeling if necessary, and you'll put it away yourself (so, now you know where they are).
2) If it's hard to read labels (or cooking instructions), there are several options you can choose to do:
3) Gather all the ingredients for your recipe ahead of time on the counter. You can choose to pre-measure ingredients into bowls and cups and such. Once you've added an ingredient to your recipe, put it away! This helps prevents double dosing as well as being easier to find the next ingredient.
4) Use large print measuring cups and spoons for easy viewing. One thing I always do while measuring ingredients, especially liquids, is to pour over the sink. With low vision we don't always see or react quickly enough to prevent over-pouring. So, doing it over the sink makes clean up a lot easier!
5) Put all utensils, dirty dishes and so on, in the dishwasher or in the sink and out of the way. Again, my mantra - "the less clutter there is, the easier it is to see".
Here are a variety of things to do with your "standard" appliances, the ones we are accustomed to - fridge, stove, microwave:
1) If you'r appliance is fairly new (this century), some manufacturers have a tactile (Braille) dial available for some models that you can switch out for to "feel" where the settings are.
2) Get puff paint, or tactile dots, to apply to your favorite settings on your appliance for you to easily feel and push.
On the right is a picture of my microwave with some puff paint on the following buttons:
Sure, it's not pretty, but it is very effective and I no longer spend time straining to look from different angles to find each button.
3) For the stove, don't start burners until you've placed the pot on first. Turn burners off before removing pots too. Turn pot handles inward away from edges to prevent accidentally bumping them.
Alternate to Appliances
If you're not comfortable using the standard equipment, there are several cooking alternatives to use:
1) Slow Cooker - Everything gets put into the pot while it's cold and left all day to cook on it's own and it's ready to serve. This reduces the chance of burns, and does not need a lot of "supervision" over it.
2) George Foreman Grill - Again, food can be placed on here while it's cold and then closed and started. Less chance of burns plus no fighting to flip food as it cooks both sides.
3) Air Fryer - Again, food goes in cold, turned on, check the temperature and texture of food and the handle stays cool to transfer to a plate. I have one and love it! You can read my review and a recipe too.
4) Cobolt Systems - this is a company that sells talking versions of various products such as a Combination Oven, Microwave, a single hotplate and a double hotplate.
Well this post is getting a bit long, I'll save Part Two for next time where I'll give tips and products for Cooking & Eating.
Thank you and feel free to ask me any questions!