Thanksgiving week is here! This year has been such a rollercoaster. I hope we can find some joy and (maybe) some normalcy in slowing down and enjoying a turkey-leg, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. And what a great excuse to bust out the kitchen tools while working with our clients!
Food--eating it, cooking it, gathering around it with our families is such a cherished and personal experience. I rarely find a client who has had a disruption in food-related occupations who doesn't care to become independent again. That's why working with food is both motivating for my clients and fun for me.
Here are 5 tips for one-handed cooking--accumulated from my work with my clients with hemiplegia, but can also apply to clients who have had an amputation, moderate to severe arthritis, or unilateral weakness.
1. Hook and Handled Mixing Bowl
Threaded metal hooks can be found at home improvement stores. They can be easily installed to the bottom of a cabinet and used with a handled mixing bowl to transfer homemade goods (ie cake batter or casseroles) from the mixing bowl to the baking container.
2. Adaptive cutting board
Adaptive cutting boards are a relatively inexpensive investment and a versatile. The one pictured has one backed corner, 3 prongs, and suctioned feet and retails for about $40.
3. Pastry scraper as a one-handed knife
Pastry scrapers can be used as a substitute to a rocker knife. They are more readily available (you can likely find them locally!) and often cost fewer dollars. This one pictured is less than $4. Rocker knives range from $14-$20.
4. Stand Mixer
If I were to recommend one longer-term investment for a cook with use of only one hand I would 100% recommend a quality stand mixer. A stand mixer offers versatile and almost limitless possibilities in the kitchen from mixing and needing bread, preparing cookie dough, stirring cake batters to shredding chicken and whipping heavy cream, and even making ice-cream, chopping vegetables, shredding cheese, and making pasta (with additional attachments).
5. Vegetable chopper or food processor
A vegetable chopper or food processor is another worthy investment for one-handed cooking and meal preparation. With the push of the button, vegetables can be prepared, a smoothie can be blended, tree nuts can be chopped, or baking ingredients can be combined.
The one thing I love about all of these one-handed cooking techniques is that they can be used for people across the board! I use them all in my personal kitchen. "Universal design" as OTs reference. What outside-of-the-box cooking adaptation do you use for your clients?
Happy Thanksgiving! May you cook (and eat) today. Cook (and eat) better tomorrow. And inspire others to do the same.
The information written in this blog post is intended to be for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for medical or therapeutic advice and/or treatment. You should maintain your safety by participating in activities only within your physical and cognitive capabilities. Please consult your physician or occupational therapist for specific and personal treatment regarding those capabilities.
Additionally, I am not a paid affiliate advertiser The recommended products are based on my own personal experience and recommended with the hopes to help others live better.