One of my biggest concerns when cooking meat is accidentally serving it raw or under cooked. The last thing I want to do is make us ill or give us food poisoning. This especially goes for chicken or turkey. Most instructions state: check it is cooked by slicing in to it, and checking there is no pink showing. This is not helpful for someone who can’t see. Over time, I have developed a way of cooking to minimise the risk of me serving raw meat.
When I first started to cook I was very cautious. I would only cook chicken or turkey, mince beef, and fish fillets. I preferred to cut my white meat in to bite size pieces, so they didn’t take too long to cook. I would always serve them in a sauce, so that if I had over-cooked them, it wouldn’t be too dry. As my confidence and experience grew I became more comfortable in knowing how long different meats take to cook, and what meat feels like when it is done. I became happier to use other meats such as sausages, meatballs and steaks.
Now, I will happily cook whole chicken breasts or turkey steaks. To do this I always set a timer and if I’m unsure I err on the side of caution. My eyes are no use in telling me if it is cooked or not so I have to use my other senses. For this, touch. Yes, this means I’m handling hot food, but I would rather that than poison myself. If you press down on the meat and it springs back up straight away then it isn’t cooked. Meat should also feel the same texture throughout. If you cut in to it and the texture changes then it is not completely cooked.
Making sure I cook a beef steak right also relies on touch, with a helping hand from a timer. However this time I do want the meat to spring back up after I press it as I like a steak done medium rare. I hate meat that is overcooked as it is so dry and hard to swallow. Another pet hate of mine is fatty meat. It is why I don’t cook lamb. There is nothing so disgusting as putting a fork full of food in your mouth expecting it to be meat and ending up with inedible fat or gristle. Before I cook steak I feel along the meat first and remove any fat I find. When raw, fat feels harder than meat and so is easy to spot. I know this is frowned upon by steak aficionados but it is far healthier and prevents me from accidentally eating it.
Using a timer is one thing that is very consistent throughout my cooking. It is far safer and more reassuring. It also means I don’t have to stand over it constantly touching to check whether the meat is cooked or not. Touching hot things is definitely not ideal and so I want to reduce the need to do this as much as possible. People joke that I must have asbestos fingers to be able to cope with touching so many hot things and I probably have built up a resilience to it over time but it’s still not ideal. I will either set a timer on my talking microwave, which beeps when time is up or more recently use Alexa to set one for me. This is really handy as I don’t even have to step away from the cooker to set it, I can just use my voice.
The one thing I’m not comfortable with is cooking meat still on the bone. It is a lot harder to be confident it is cooked all the way through and generally takes longer. It is also harder, I find, to eat meat still on the bone if you can’t see what you are eating. You have to keep feeling for where the bone is when using a knife and fork and its much easier to mistakenly put things that aren’t meant to be eaten in your mouth. Meat on the bone tends to be a lot fattier and as I dislike fat, I don’t feel like I am missing out too much by avoiding eating it.
I haven’t yet attempted to cook a joint of meat, like pork or beef, for a roast dinner. It is something that I keep saying I need to do one day but I’ve never got round to it yet. I like to make meals that use as few pans as possible and don’t take too long to make. A proper roast dinner is neither of these and so puts me off.
It is not because I can’t see that I don’t like to cook a large joint of meat. Just a personal preference. My Mum and Brothers will quite happily roast a whole chicken, leg of lamb, or rib of beef for a roast dinner. In fact, my Mum’s roast dinners are possibly the best in the world. I think this is partly what puts me off from doing it, they will never taste as good as my Mum’s. One day I will get one of them to share their advice on this blog so that if you do want to know how a blind person does successfully do this, then they can tell you.
The important thing to remember when cooking is only do what you are comfortable or confident with. Cooking is meant to be enjoyable and not stressful. As your experience grows you will be able to push your limits and try new things. Do you have anything you avoid cooking because you’re not comfortable with it? Please share as I’m sure you are not alone.
Thank you for reading and speak soon,