Techniques, Gadgets and Concepts - Oh my!
In my Steampunk Cozy Mystery novel MISE EN DEATH is set around a Cooking School in Louisiana. The students are as diverse as I interacted with when I was interning at culinary school. Though in all I’ve experienced I didn’t see much representation in print or on the screen cooking shows of folks with limited ability.
In my teens the doctor told me that I would have arthritis at an early age. My symptoms began in my 30’s and many months were good with a few rough days. Though living in New England for the last few years has been intensifying the symptoms and it makes carrying out simple mise en place in the kitchen tough going. I admit to being slow to the adaptive equipment in the kitchen since I did not start cooking until a little over a decade ago.
Instead of bitching about it I thought to myself, what kind of gadgets would William Murdoch from Maureen Jennings beloved detective do? I’d share some food prep cooking equipment that would be good for you and me. Okay? Okay. Let’s go!
Swedish Cutting Board
Adaptable and useful for those that need a cutting board for one-handed mise en place this is a gadget that can have a high price point of $140 but I’ve spotted these adaptable cutting boards for as little as $59 with spikes here in the States. RehabMart seems to have a price range that’s easier on the wallet.
Note – when looking for the cutting board or other cooking equipment some keywords to use are “independent living aids”, “limited mobility”, “arthritis supplies” or “assistive cutting board”. Though I saw many of the boards as white I’m sure there are darker boards for those with low-vision.
I think purchasing a clamp to attach to the board is better than my wet paper towel under the cutting board trick. That was something I learned when I had full dexterity and the ability to stand at a counter without issue. GET THE CLAMP.
Mandolines with the protective shield is a good tool to have and I love mine, but the rule in the house is that I’m the only one to use it. Why? Because the family thinks they don’t have to sue the protective handguard because they are “only cutting a tiny piece”. Since making an unsolicited blood sacrifice in our family meal is not something, I approve of I am protective of that gadget.
Mandoline Slicers price range is between a narrow shaped mandoline for $14.99 at Target, a generic adjustable height mandoline on Amazon for $29.99, a stainless steel mandoline from the WebRestaurant store for $88.99. There are ones in higher price range, but today is not the day to I speak on gilded gadgets.
Something I wish folks had suggested to me in the past was to purchase a set of those cut-resistant gloves that serve multiple uses including: gloves that protects from knife cuts. It’s a dual safety precaution when either changing out the blades or hand washing the different mandolin blades or if you are using both hands to cut produce or other items.
Note – don’t put knives in a water filled sink. Why? Because you can’t see what you’re reaching for so for safety’s sake wash sharp things last in an empty sink.
Adaptive a.k.a. ergonomic handled pots and pans are on my wish list. Adaptive handles and light saucepans for cooking with are something I am becoming aware I need because the Le Creuset dutch oven is getting harder to pick up, carry or remove from my cabinets when empty let alone filled with my homemade Gumbo during the winter holidays. I’m hearing some good things about Eazigrip and frankly one of their listings for a pot/saucepan is at $29.99.
Should I explore more kitchen gadgets and write about my finds? What are some adaptive kitchen gadgets you find useful?