Esther SmithIf you’ve been following my column, you know that last time I talked about organizing your kitchen. So now, you’re ready to cook! As I mentioned in my last Insight, you may want to consider getting some professional help to provide instructive techniques for cooking and other everyday living tasks. In addition to getting that training, here are some of the things I’ve done in my own kitchen to make it easier to prepare meals.
  • You may need to mark your appliances such as your stove or microwave with tactile markings so that you can tell the settings and be able to operate them correctly and safely. You can find information on this topic in the article, Your Kitchen; scroll down to the section on appliances.
  • Afraid to use the oven? Try using long oven mitts so that your entire arm is protected when putting things in the oven or taking them out. Make sure that you have a solid, heat resistant surface close by on which to place hot items.
  • Take your measure—using the right sized cup for the task is often the easiest way to measure. If you need a cup of flour, use the one cup measure; a half cup of sugar, use a half cup measuring cup.
  • Use color contrast to your advantage. A white plate will stand out against dark shelf paper in a cabinet. If you want to cut a red apple, use a light-colored cutting board. You can use this concept in many ways, as you’ll see in this demonstration of good and bad contrast in the kitchen.
  • The concept of using a knife may be really frightening. But there are specialized knives available, for example, called “pivot knives” that are mounted to a cutting board and which can be used quite safely with practice. AFB Senior has a video on using a pivot knife.
  • Light up your life by using good lighting in the kitchen. A small adjustable task light by the cutting board or under-counter lighting that lights the counter space where you are working can help you tremendously when preparing foods, reading a recipe or measuring.
With these tips and training, you should be cooking in no time. You can find more help near you by going to AFB Senior Site’s online service directory. Bon appétit! Esther

More about Esther Smith

Mrs. Smith has been involved in numerous volunteer activities in Dallas over the years, and is currently a member of the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss Board and heads up the Center’s docent program. She was married for 47 years to Don Paul Smith, a noted inventor. Mrs. Smith is a graduate of Lindenwood College for Women in St. Charles, Missouri, and was a 2006 recipient of an honorary degree from the University of North Texas. In addition, she was head of the circulation department at the Fondren Library at Southern Methodist University for 11 years. Mrs. Smith has three daughters and seven grandchildren. For more about her experiences with macular degeneration, look for the AFB Press book, Out of the Corner of My Eye, in which she shares more of her insights, and view the video Esther and Gwen: A Mother and Daughter Story.
Listen to Esther Discussing Out of the Corner of My Eye

Transcript of Esther Discussing Out of the Corner of My Eye

Esther Smith: I have had the opportunity of reviewing several times the book entitled Out of the Corner of My Eye, and feel it is a wonderful learning tool for anyone who has that condition. The book was authored by Ms. Ringgold, who has had macular degeneration for some 10 years. It’s obvious that she’s a knowledgeable, educated woman who has chronilized her condition of macular degeneration from being a very slight case to an advanced case. I would certainly recommend either reading or listening to this book to anyone who has the condition of macular degeneration, not only to help you cope with your condition but also for your family to understand how you are coping and how they can help you.