Regular readers of this blog will know that my Cerebral Palsy means that I struggle with cooking. They’ll probably also be able to tell you that this frustrates me, both for myself and because I can’t make meals for my family. But, if my three years living away at university thought me anything (my actual multimedia journalism degree aside of course) I learned a couple of handy hints about making my life in the kitchen a little bit easier. Here are a few of my personal things that I couldn’t cope without.
This is a post about how the items listed below work for me personally. I cannot offer advice on or say how well they would work or how suitable they would be for others as I’m not a medical professional.
A plastic measuring jug: I know this one sounds obvious but I use it for a whole lot more than just measuring stuff out. It was a couple of weeks into my first year that one of my housemates at the time made the shocking revelation that you could cook pasta in a microwave! This was a totally alien concept to me but it made my life so much easier over the years when I realised that I could make it in this instead of in a heavy pan that I can’t lift. After that I started making soup in one too because I found it far easier to carry than a steaming hot bowl of the stuff (and I’ve had less spillages that way too).
Colanders with long handles: It wasn’t long into my pasta-making days that I realised colanders that just had handles on the side were a big no-go because I either ended up almost burning myself or spilling half of my just cooked food down the sink. For a while I got a bit creative and used a sieve as a replacement, but then my mother bought me a huge orange one for Christmas that year and I got far more excited that one person should ever do over a kitchen utensil.
An electric tin opener: I had one of these at home anyway before I left, but silly old me forgot to pack it on the day I made the trek to start my new life 60 miles up north. I’d been far too busy trying to remember other things like my textbooks, clothes, and duvets to worry about that. It’ll be okay, I thought, I’ll just buy ring-pull tins. That was about the time that I realised I didn’t have the hand strength for those and spent the first couple of weeks asking everyone to help me open my peas. Now it’s the first thing I pack. Oh, and coat hangers, I forgot those that day too.
An apple corer: I love apples but ever since I had braces as a teenager I’ve always hated having to bite into them. And of course the time I pulled a loose tooth out on one as a kid probably doesn’t help either. I couldn’t chop them until I realised that taking out the core first meant that I could just about manage to do it as long as I wasn’t fussy about the size and shape of the pieces I cut.