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eGCI Team

Q&A: Cooking With Disabilities

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SethG   

Thank you for that wonderful course. Very eye-opening and educational.


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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MobyP   

What an incredible, thorough, and inspiring course. Coungratulation to all.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Please return for Parts Two and Three. :biggrin:


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Thanks for this course. My mom has MS and doesn't like to cook anyway. However, she is beginning to see the importance of eating healthfully in helping maintain a higher degree of functioning and a higher quality of life. These sorts of tips and techniques will be wonderful for me to pass on.

Her biggest problems are in the form of vertigo, overall fatigue and extreme numbness in her hips and legs, especially if she stands for very long. This is her biggest problem in the kitchen, hands down.

What techniques, other than sitting while doing prepwork, would be helpful? It would be great if she could redo the floor with something forgiving like cork, but it's not really a possibility. It would also be great if my dad would cook instead of making her do it, but that's less likely than getting a new floor. :angry:


Gourmet Anarchy

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Thanks for this course. My mom has MS and doesn't like to cook anyway. However, she is beginning to see the importance of eating healthfully in helping maintain a higher degree of functioning and a higher quality of life. These sorts of tips and techniques will be wonderful for me to pass on.

Her biggest problems are in the form of vertigo, overall fatigue and extreme numbness in her hips and legs, especially if she stands for very long. This is her biggest problem in the kitchen, hands down.

What techniques, other than sitting while doing prepwork, would be helpful? It would be great if she could redo the floor with something forgiving like cork, but it's not really a possibility. It would also be great if my dad would cook instead of making her do it, but that's less likely than getting a new floor. :angry:

One thing I have found to be most helpful to me is to not allow the clock to dictate when I cook. Cook when she feels like she has the energy and stability to do it. Most hot dishes are great reheated. Cold dishes sit well in the fridge. Or prep everything when she feels like it, proceed to putting it together when she feels like it, and finish up the same. Plan to spend not more than 20-30 minutes at a time in the kitchen, take a break, then go back when she is able.

Your dad may not be willing to be the cook, but he might be willing to be "imposed upon" to stick the dish in the oven or put it on the stove and then remove it from the heat source at a set time.

Your mom should be aware to not cross her legs or ankles when she is sitting as that will tend to contribute to numbness in her hips and legs.

You may not be able to replace the floor -- I certainly can't replace mine right now -- but cush pads with gripper backs in her work areas will help relieve the stress.

Vertigo is tough and I really have to say that if she begins to experience vertigo while in the kitchen cooking she should just turn off the heat and leave the kitchen until later. Some days she will just have to say -- cooking? no way. It is very helpful for me to cook more than we plan to eat for two meals. Pack up the overage, seal it in a carton, mark the date and the contents, and freeze it. She can then bring it out in a couple weeks or so and have a delicious pre-cooked homemade dinner for those lousy days.

Cook more one-pot meals (if she does not have a slow cooker she deserves one!). With the summer coming up she can also take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables that she does not have to cook over heat. Rice, pasta, potatoes, are all good foods for a foundation and are quick, easy, and take little time. All are great for a base for hot or cold foods. No shame in using pre-cut veggies or fruits, and bag salad. It is better that it is fresh for her.

See if you can get your dad a little involved -- does he like to grill outdoors? If he does have him do six pieces of chicken instead of four at a time, or an extra steak, a couple chops, whatever, so your mom will have that to use for something entirely different the next night or so. I like to skip a night and then have "makeovers" that require little effort and great taste.

Less stress -- tell mom not to worry about it too much. If she has to stop, she should just halt what she's doing and come back to it later. Start simple. Stay easy.

This is off the top of my head for now, things that are helpful for me. We can go into this more when you see what you think about these for your mom. Ask again.


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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tuliptoe   

Great article, very informative and well written. Super receipes too!

I just saw a rerun of a show on FoodNetwork (Calling all Cooks) and they featured a cook who is blind. She used some super gadgets as well as her own inventions to make cooking something that she could easily do.

I'm glad to see people tackling this topic. Great foodies come from all walks of life.

Can't wait for parts 2 & 3!


The stars above me are not real, they are the sparks from smitting steel - Michael Penn

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At a much lower level of seriousness, there are some dedicated foodies who develop sensory disabilities, either temporary or permanent, such as loss of smell, which can make one relient on extremely strong flavors and those sensations that may remain; e.g. heat, salt, sweetness. I realize that this is a totally different area from physical disabilities involving motor functions.


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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Chad   

Another resource: Envision is a not-for-profit here in Wichita that serves people with macular degeneration, low vision and no vision. They have a retail store that sells adaptive aids for the visually impaired. There's some pretty nifty kitchen stuff available -- White Canes & More.

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Here is a cite for a place that sells special kitchen tools for people with disabilities:

http://www.dynamic-living.com/gadgets.htm

Some of them, like the Stovetop Pan Holder designed for people with one arm, would be handy for those of use with two.

Thanks for the link! :biggrin:


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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At a much lower level of seriousness, there are some dedicated foodies who develop sensory disabilities, either temporary or permanent, such as loss of smell, which can make one relient on extremely strong flavors and those sensations that may remain; e.g. heat, salt, sweetness. I realize that this is a totally different area from physical disabilities involving motor functions.

Please join us for Part Three/Sensory Issues. :biggrin:

Part Two also addresses some of these issues. So much is interrelated. Our three perspectives touch on many different aspects of disabilities.


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Another resource: Envision is a not-for-profit here in Wichita that serves people with macular degeneration, low vision and no vision. They have a retail store that sells adaptive aids for the visually impaired. There's some pretty nifty kitchen stuff available -- White Canes & More.

Chad

Another good link! Thanks! :cool:


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Kim WB   

I have a son with severe learning disabilites..a perfectly verbal, interesting 14 year old who reads at (almost) a third grade level. He's been interested in food and cooking, but hates recipies and measurement. This overview will help me adapt to his needs.

OK, this sounds like a trite book blurb, but I'll say it anyway:

IF YOU ARE GOING TO READ ONLY ONE ARTICLE ON EGULLET THIS YEAR, MAKE SURE IT IS THIS THREAD...WALK AWAY THANKFUL, ENLIGHTENED, AND ENGAGED.

THANK YOU, FROM THOSE WHO COOK AND THOSE WHO EAT.

If only some reviewer was really interested in a parent's struggle. Don't get me started.


Edited by Kim WB (log)

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Kim WB, please be sure to join us for Part Two tomorrow. I think the two lessons there will be especially helpful, and interesting, for you to read. The lesson on cooking with/teaching people with disabilities to cook will give you a good base for cooking with your son.

Thanks for joining us.


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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fifi   

What a thoroughly enlightening course. Those tips are ingenious and I will start using some of them immediately. I don't have any real disabilities, yet, but they are good ideas anyway. The safety issues are good for everyone to think about.

I did a safety program last year on outdoor cooking and cooking in general for the folks at work. I happened to stumble across a link to a report of an incident in England where a woman fell onto the open door of her dishwasher and was stabbed with a knife sticking up. That was something that I had never thought about. While my good knives don't go in the dishwasher, some cheap steak knives and rather lethal looking turning forks do. I no longer leave the dishwasher door open and am careful about how sharp things are loaded. If water has splashed on the floor, things can get slippery.

And, thank you for this inspired wisdom.

I always make a plan, then if it does not work out I adjust my plan. You are all in my plan.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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At a much lower level of seriousness, there are some dedicated foodies who develop sensory disabilities, either temporary or permanent, such as loss of smell, which can make one relient on extremely strong flavors and those sensations that may remain; e.g. heat, salt, sweetness. I realize that this is a totally different area from physical disabilities involving motor functions.

John, this is not at a "lower level of seriousness." In the same vein, but conversely, some people have heightened scent and taste sensations. We will be visiting this topic on Day III of this "clinic." Suffice to say, with one pregnancy, my sense of smell of extremely exacerbated and "off" and because of this, I could hardly eat, and it almost cost us the health and well-being of an unborn child. This is just an example of how the topic of disabilities can affect anyone -- permanently, long-term or short term.

And, Kim, do stop by tomorrow. I think you will find it more than worthwhile. Specialteach has some great things to offer, and I hope I do, as well.

Finally, I would like to say that it has been a lot of work to prepare for this class -- both in terms of time and emotionally (we have bared a lot, personally). But, ECI has offered so much to me that it seemed liked I was giving far less than had been given. And, I must add that I don't think any of us could ask for a greater audience.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Mottmott   

Thank you for this course. I'm sure many of us are grateful. Apart from the useful information about safety and working around physical disabilities, it's inspiring to see your spirited confrontation with the limitations of the body. I'm just beginning to confront some still minor ones imposed by back and joint problems. You bring perspective as well as solutions.


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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What a thoroughly enlightening course. Those tips are ingenious and I will start using some of them immediately. I don't have any real disabilities, yet, but they are good ideas anyway. The safety issues are good for everyone to think about.

I did a safety program last year on outdoor cooking and cooking in general for the folks at work. I happened to stumble across a link to a report of an incident in England where a woman fell onto the open door of her dishwasher and was stabbed with a knife sticking up. That was something that I had never thought about. While my good knives don't go in the dishwasher, some cheap steak knives and rather lethal looking turning forks do. I no longer leave the dishwasher door open and am careful about how sharp things are loaded. If water has splashed on the floor, things can get slippery.

And, thank you for this inspired wisdom.

I always make a plan, then if it does not work out I adjust my plan. You are all in my plan.

Even before I was dizzy, stumbling about, and seeing double I placed my knives and sharp forks point down in the dishrack. I was cut once as a child and just don't trust the things sticking up! To me it is an old habit that makes me feel safer and worry less about reaching into the dishrack.

This is a perfect example of things we do that are so ingrained in us that we do not think to mention them to another. Thanks for bringing up the knife "point," fifi. :wink:


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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This is a splendid subject and spot on for me because both sides of my family have members under home care. I recently visited both and cooked massive quantities of pot roast with root vegetables which I froze and left for them to enjoy at will. I wonder if anyone has some experience with other dishes that freeze well so that the next time I make my rounds, I can stock their freezers with a variety of dinners they can thaw and reheat.

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This is a splendid subject and spot on for me because both sides of my family have members under home care.  I recently visited both and cooked massive quantities of pot roast with root vegetables which I froze and left for them to enjoy at will.  I wonder if anyone has some experience with other dishes that freeze well so that the next time I make my rounds, I can stock their freezers with a variety of dinners they can thaw and reheat.

I'm sure more people will want to chime in on this but to get it started I'll name just a few I do myself --

Chicken and dumplings

all kinds of soup

hearty beans, or lentils, or blackeyed peas

Check out the recipes in Part One -- these freeze well:

Tomato, Eggplant, and Italian Sausage Soup

Hearty Bay Scallop Chowder

Cauliflower Parmesan (you can cut or reduce the garlic if need be/ reheat Cauliflower on low setting)

Lasagnas are great (meat or veggie)

Whole roasted chickens (or chicken breasts for those that need to restrict the fat in their diet) -- coupled with mashed potatoes and steamed or non-fat spray sauteed veggies (carrots, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower freeze very well)

Leg of lamb is often a good buy for your buck and if they'll eat lamb, the stew is great with root veggies in it.

Wonderful for you to do this for your relatives, commander. They are fortunate to have a good foodie in their family. :biggrin:


Edited by lovebenton0 (log)

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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srhcb   

I sometimes like to chide eGullet for being ostentatious or snobbish, occationally to the point of having my posts pulled, but I forgive them all their tresspasses for having provided a forum for this discussion.

Beautiful!

THANX SB

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so far, fascinating and very helpfull...

my husband has cerebral palsy, chronic leg pain and epilepsy (uncontrolled), when he was younger his epilepsy was controlled well and he qualified as a chef and worked for a guesthouse, his epilepsy returned and his confidence took a beating and he seldom ventures into the kitchen now, I'm hoping that this course might help him realise there's a lot he can do!

for myself, I had a vertically banded gastroplasty last year and am on a permanent pureed diet, weetabix morning, noon and night (unless I get all crazy and have a protien shake) so ideas for smooth textured (but flavourfull, I'm so sick of bland food) foods are always more than welcome!


Edited by binkyboots (log)

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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Binkyboots, I know well what a confidence robber dealing with disabilities can be. When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy in 1984 it was difficult for me to believe I could venture into old activities that suddenly became dangerous for me. Swimming, climbing a ladder, and cooking among them. I had had epilepsy since at least age six, but because I was the only girl child, had my own room, and my seizures mostly occurred during sleep it was about 25 years before I was diagnosed. Not realizing the incidents were related when I woke in the morning feeling awful it seemed as though I had a "bug" for a day or two. I finally had three very bad seizures three nights in a row and boom! I had a daytime grand mal that stopped my heart and respiration for over four minutes. We got me to the doctor then! The seizures were out of control for months -- it took a year to get my meds straight.

I was knocked down and scared. My son was almost 12 at the time, I was the only cook in the household -- my husband, a Chicago boy, made fabulous homemade pizza, but his talents stopped there. So I had to cook and I love to cook. I was not willing nor was I able to give that up. But, I was very fortunate we found a med to work for me. (It controlled most of my seizures for years, until I was in grad school and we had to go on the meds hunt again.) My son had always enjoyed cooking with me and began to take that a bit more seriously then -- in that amazing way that your children can become your greatest allies and supporters. That summer I was very ill for several weeks, complicated by the epilepsy, and he asked for cooking lessons. I was not allowed in the kitchen for six weeks. I sat in the livingroom by the kitchen door and gave him instructions -- he got his cooking lessons! And is still a fine cook -- much to his wife's delight.

I had some accidents and did indeed have to learn some safety lessons the hard way. But I did learn to adjust the way I treated food and myself in the kitchen. I adjusted my diet to avoid foods that were seizure triggers, and to compensate for the way I needed to insure my own safety. Some of the safety tips in Part One come from those days. Jenna's lesson is certainly full of good tips that apply to people of all ages as well.

I hope that perhaps you and your husband may be able to adapt to your situation so that you can cook together. It may help to build his confidence to have a "kitchen helper" to do the things that he is most uncomfortable contemplating as his job in the kitchen. I would suggest that he have a safe place to be in the kitchen, a place he can sit and feel secure while you two are cooking. Attempting simple recipes, that do not require a long process is a good way to start.

As far as yummy smooth textured recipes go -- I will certainly be posting more here in the Q&A with links to RecipeGullet as time goes by. You might try the Simple Curried Sweet Potatoes, using smooth peanut butter, if your system will accept that. I have a recipe based on a mushroom soup I enjoyed often while living in Central Mexico that you may like also. I'll get it together to add that in the coming days.


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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I want to thank everyone for the kind words of support and encouragement. This has become a true labor of love for all involved.

We have grown through the six month process that it took to put this course together (all though some of us more than others :wink: ) and are thrilled to finally share it with all of you.


Edited by specialteach (log)

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