To set the stage for Adapted Measuring, hopefully you have read Part 1 of the blog series AT for Independence in the Kitchen – Adapted cutting. While I want you to keep our same individual case studies in mind as we think about the next step in the cooking process, I want you to take a moment and think about someone in your life who might face challenges in the kitchen.
In Part 2, we are going to talk about how to be more independent in measuring the ingredients you have assembled and making something delicious!
Is there difficulty in holding or seeing a recipe? There is AT to help with that!
If the person wanting to cook cannot hold or easily see the recipe, they cannot be expected to complete their cooking project. What a shame it would be to not get to devour the delicious ingredients you have prepared!
A simple book stand can be used to hold a single paper recipe or a cook book. If the chef has a visual impairment or just has difficulty reading small print, there are books stands with full page magnifiers attached to enlarge the visual field for better access.
If you have joined the digital age and access recipes from Pinterest, an online cooking blog or saved from an email there are stands for a tablet. I really like the one that easily attaches to and is removeable from the cabinet. It allows you to move it around the kitchen as you need and saves the counter space for the fun cooking activities. Using a digital recipe format also provides the opportunity for a screen reader to provide instructions in an auditory format or to use videos for visual/auditory support in cooking.
Chef with limited reading skills? Using video or visual recipes provides extra support for the cooking steps. There are many creative ways to allow for hands free access to the recipe material.
So, you have decided what you are making and can see what steps need to be followed. Now you need to measure, scoop, pour, weigh and otherwise manipulate your ingredients.
There are lots of assistive technology options to help ensure you put the right amount of each ingredient in your masterpiece.
Large print and high contrast labels on measuring cups and spoons help those with low vision identify the correct amounts.
For a chef who is blind there are talking measuring cups that can provide added support to ensure accurate measurements. A talking measuring cup can also be a benefit to a chef who experiences a cognitive impairment. Furthermore, using a talking scale with large buttons and display can be a great option for quantity measurement for someone with visual, cognitive or physical limitations. There is even a tactile measuring cup to provide tactile feedback on acquiring the correct measurement of ingredient.
While adapted wooden spoons or spoons for stirring or mixing can be difficult to find, there are many cheap and easy modifications to the handles that you can make with things around the home. A universal cuff can help create a better grip for those with limited grip strength, dexterity or hand range of motion.
What about things that need to be poured, whether a dry or liquid ingredient? There is assistive technology that can aid in pouring or manipulating pourable ingredients.
When lifting and pouring a carton presents a challenge a carton holder can help with pouring from a half-gallon carton by giving a sturdy handle to improve grip-ability of the container. This can benefit a chef with limited muscle or hand strength, as well as someone with limited range of motion. Another option if the individual has limited strength and/or the physical skills to lift and pour is The Tipper, which will provide support in tipping and pouring ingredients.
A universal cuff has many applications. I mentioned above that is can be used to help with holding and using kitchen utensils. It can be used to help hold spices needing to be measured and aid in giving food the proper seasoning.
It can be so frustrating when the ingredient you need is secure in a can or jar that refuses to open – when using two hands! This can be a deal breaker situation for individuals needing one handed access to such containers. Luckily, there are a wide variety of one handed options for can and jar openers that make these tasks accessible for individuals with limited hand dexterity. Similarly, a Scoop and Release cookie dropper can be used for more than making cookies. Any semi-sticky concoction such as deviled egg filling, chicken salad, meatball mixture (and more!) can be scooped and dropped using this one handed device.
I don’t know about you, but I really hate when I am trying to mix my ingredients and the mixing bowl will not stay in place! A mixing bowl holder will keep the bowl in the desired position and keep it from sliding and spinning – making mixing more accessible.
Though it once may have seemed daunting, by using a combination of affordable, easy to obtain tools you or a loved one can experience an increase in independence for all phases of cooking – preparing and combining ingredients into the appropriate container and having them ready for the oven or the table.
Be on the watch for Part 3 of the series where we explore assistive technology to aid increasing independence in the best part of the cooking process – eating!