Cooking with Cerebral Palsy

Here’s a question for you: why aren’t there more disabled chefs on Television in the UK?

These days I’m starting to feel like I can’t flip on the TV set without someone taunting me with images of delicious meals that they’ve just made themselves, quite often from scratch. I stare longingly at them all for about three seconds with mouth watering and then have to change the channel, and not just because in those few seconds I’ve become so hungry that I want to devour everything in my food cupboard. I switch over to something else because I know that there’s a good chance I won’t be able to make that meal for myself, not necessarily because I can’t cook (in truth I’m hopeless, but that’s beside the point)  I know that I can’t cook in the way that others who don’t have my physical difficulties can.

When I step into a kitchen people have to worry about more than me giving them food poisoning. I can’t lift pans full of ingredients, so cooking on a hob is a no-go, I can’t balance well enough to get heavy or big things in and out of the oven without burning myself or dropping it on my foot, and even things like chopping and peeling potatoes are a major struggle. So yes, sometimes when I see cookery programmes  where the host is casually zipping around the kitchen carrying oven trays and slicing onions at eye-watering speed (no pun intended) like it’s the most natural thing in the world, I get a little frustrated with myself.

Slowly I’ve been working out as many ways around it as a possibly I can. One of my most valuable life lessons I think I learned over my time as a student is that you can cook pasta in a microwave if you put it in a suitable container and pour boiling water from the kettle over it (in your face, saucepans!). If I’m in charge of making my own dinner I’ll use Quorn instead of meat because that too can be done in the good ol’ microwave or I eat a lot of soup because, yup, you guessed it, that goes in there too.

I know that there must be a lot of disabled chefs out there and I’d personally love it if they were given more air time so that I could learn their tips and tricks. I know that a group of disabled chefs recently made it to the final of ITV show Food, Glorious Food. While researching for the post today I came across Michael Caines, an award-winning chef who also happens to be an amputee and has featured on the Good Food Channel before. I just hope personally that one day there are a lot more cooks on our screens with difficulties simliar to mine who cook their pasta in a plastic mesuring jug and do lots of other interesting stuff I haven’t thought of yet.

If you have any hints to share that you think would come in handy, please leave them in the comments box below.