My Kitchen Struggles

My Kitchen Struggles

I’m writing this post for a couple of reasons really. Firstly to highlight and share some of the struggles I face in the kitchen when not being able to see, and secondly to see if anyone has any tips or advice on how to overcome these struggles. Some of the things I struggle with are not particularly because I can’t see, more that I’ve just never learnt how to do it and am sure if I had someone willing to show me could learn. Maybe there is someone out there who would like to come and teach me?

One of the most annoying things that I can’t currently do is separate an egg. So many recipes that I like the look of require just egg whites, just yolks or sometimes just the eggs to be separated, and its just something I don’t quite know how to do. It is one of my most frustrating limitations, but I just don’t know where to start.

Another of my struggles is flipping or turning small or thin items in a frying pan or on a grill. Its hard to do this without feeling what you are doing, which inevitably means you then burn your fingers. Bigger, more solid  items like fish fillets, large vegetables, burgers or other pieces of meat are fine as they are more easy to control with a fish slice or pallet knife, but its the smaller, more delicate ingredients like scallops, bacon, eggs and pancakes that are tricky.

Heating things to exact temperatures. I don’t have a thermometer that I can use for a start, and listening for tell tale sounds like bubbling generally means I’ve gone too far. This is something I particularly struggle with when heating milk, as if it boils over it makes an awful mess. Making caramel or anything like that is currently a no go zone, which possibly is a good thing. 

I definitely find most baking related tasks more tricky, but I think this is more because I’m scared of getting things wrong, rather than not actually being able to do it. In cooking you can get away with mistakes, but in baking you can’t hide. This is one I think I just need to build more confidence around. One of the frustrations related to this is making things look good and decoration. This generally doesn’t really bother me, but sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to make more of an effort.

Frying anything in a lot of oil. This isn’t really a bad thing as this isn’t the healthiest way of cooking, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to make things like crispy falafel, fish cakes, tempura battered or crumb coated foods. Unfortunately though, its just too dangerous, as it involves working with a lot of things that are very hot and could very easily go wrong. Its about knowing and understanding your limitations with this one, but that doesn’t mean to say it doesn’t get frustrating. Most of the time though this one is easy to work around as it is healthier and more simple to just bake in the oven, just not quite so tasty.

I’ve already spoken about my restriction with filleting, skinning and deboning fish in my post on the subject, but this is something else I would love to be able to do. Fortunately I’ve found a good workaround for this one and now get a regular selection of different fresh fish that is already prepared for me from a company called FishBox, so it isn’t too much of a restriction, but sometimes it would be nice to buy a fresh sea bass or mackerel from the fish counter.

Working with particularly delicate ingredients. As I use my hands a lot and have to touch everything anything particularly delicate can sometimes break if i’m not careful. This in particular goes for some fish, but also anything that requires it to be very thinly sliced or diced. 

Removing zest from citrus fruit is another struggle of mine. You are only meant to take the top layer off and not the layer beneath, but I’m not really sure how deep to go and once removed, it again can end up being very fine, making it hard to feel and handle.

Using vegetables that have different coloured parts and following recipes that require only one part of it. An example of this is only using the white of leaks and separating the green and white from spring onions. I’m really not sure which is which and how to tell them apart.

One other frustrating struggle is measuring exact quantities of liquid, especially small amounts. I do have a really good set of magnetic measuring spoons, but its so difficult to pour, feel and stop in time without spilling any and getting it right. Its either too much and I end up spilling some, or not quite enough. I can never seem to just get it right.

One final struggle I have is cooking with inedible ingredients that are just used for flavouring and then removed before eating. Examples of this include bay leaves, whole cloves or cardamom pods. I can’t see where they are in the pan to remove them and the food is too hot to feel around for them, also I don’t really want to have to feel around in my dinner with my hands before I eat it, and definitely not in someone elses. I do have a special spoon type implement that you can put things in for flavouring and then leave in the pan and easily remove it at the end, but it has too long a handle to fit in the pan when the lid is on. Most recipes that require the use of these sorts of ingredients also require the lid to be placed on the pan. I need to find something like this Joseph Joseph spoon, but without the handle. A bit like a silicon teabag for fresh tea leaves but bigger. Has anyone seen anything like this?

So there’s an example of some of the struggles faced by someone who can’t see, but that also wants to be creative in the kitchen. Generally these frustrations don’t prevent me from cooking or enjoying what I do, but sometimes it would be nice to not have to come up with your own methods or workarounds. If you can think of any ways to help make any of these struggles easier or have your own that you could do with some help with, then please share in the comments below.

Thank you for reading and speak soon.

Lora



15 thoughts on “My Kitchen Struggles”

  • Hey Lora. For flipping small items or for things like eggs or pancakes, checkout “Egg rings” (sometimes called pancake rings). They come in different sizes and are basically a metal ring with a handle that are placed in the frying pan and essentially create a pan within a pan. Very easy to push a flipper under and flip.

  • Separating eggs can be done one handed. I do this by cracking the egg in the middle in my right hand, I’m right handed, then splaying the egg halves between my first 2 fingers & thumb, then holding the other half by my pinkie & next finger, pressing the egg half into the palm of my hand, lets me pull the 2 halves apart and the contents drop out the middle. To get the yolk, place your left hand under the cracked egg with your fingers slightly apart, allow the white to dribble through and feel the yolk land in your hand. You can practice this with a plastic kinder egg, just don’t seal the middle of the egg so tight you can’t open it. But try parting the 2 halves of the egg with one hand, keep doing it until it becomes 2nd nature.

    • Hi, there is a thing for separating eggs you can buy in kitchen shops it’s like a tea strainer but with slots. You put it over a cop crack the egg into it and the white drops through into the cup leaving the yolk

  • If you ,run your fingers down the leek or spring onion to the point where the leaves begin to separate from the body, then put a finger toward the bottom of the leek, onion, keeping the leaves to the left & bottom to the right, cut the leek, onion at the bottom side of your finger & you have almost all white of leek or onion. Just don’t forget to cut off the roots.

  • Lora, If you have one of those drawstring bag things you put your tablets in for your washing into the washing machine, provided you have a clean one, you can put you bay leaf in there, pop it in your stew & when ready to get out of the pan, it’s big enough to catch on the spoon. I think there may be a bit of foam rubber on the baggy, you’ll need to remove it.

  • There’s a digital thermometer on the market available on amazon etc, that actually talks. You have to put the probe in the food & hold it. They’re not expensive. Made by Samshow

  • There are lightweight Kevlar gloves on the market that you could wear to turn small things in a pan, like scallops.. They’re cut proof and can stand high and low temperatures. Some gloves are thicker than others, but there are some quite thin ones that you could feel the food through. I’ll put a link on if you need, just let me know.

  • For cooking eggs without turning, at work I use super heating domes. They cook the egg, top and bottom by convecting the heat from the pan and using the moisture from the egg as it cooks, super heating it into steam that convects around the egg and cooks top & bottom so no turning, no snotty egg and it’s sunny side up, the eggs look beautiful. I have 4 of these I use daily. They are made from steel and go in the dishwasher. I’ll get a couple for you and drop them off with Stan and Linda when I’m in town sometime.

    • To separate eggs you can use an egg cracking and separating device. I was sceptical but thought it was worth a try and my students love it. I got it from Amazon. I think it was a ez egg cracker? More robust than I thought it would be.

      Also for small liquid measurements I use a plastic pipette that are used for science in school ( bought new) . If you squeeze it fully and release it does I think half a teaspoon? I’ve used it for a student putting vanilla essence in some biscuits.

      Great blog. I’ve recommended it to my students and their parents.

  • Sorry, you could also use the domes to cook other things that might save you from having to turn them. Bacon cooks quite well like this, It browns the bottom well & cooks it through properly. I’ll have to think about the baking things as I don’t bake so much & the problems you encounter are different to cooking on a range.

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