For me, cooking has long been more than just something to do to keep myself from living on fast food and otherwise prepared, off the shelf food. I enjoy cooking for myself, for family, for friends. I have cooked for 1 and I have cooked for as many as 18 people at one meal. It’s fun, it’s creative and I get a lot of warm and fuzzies for sharing my labors in the kitchen.
After having my stroke I knew instinctively getting back in the kitchen was a critical step in my journey toward living “my new normal” successfully. There was much to learn as I began to retrain myself to operate one-handed in a formerly two-handed kitchen. My frustrations were many, painful and exasperating. They were, however, often tempered by tiny and, sometimes huge triumphs if I kept myself open to recognizing them.
The first day I was left at home alone and wanted to fix myself lunch, I was shocked to realize that I could not open a can of tuna fish with the one can opener we had on hand. I do not remember what I ate for lunch that day, but I do remember resolving to never be that helpless, (in the kitchen), again! Fortunately, not too long after that my OT gave me a catalog full of one-handed aids for daily living that included kitchen gadgets galore. I suddenly felt like a kid in a candy store. I ordered several basic items and, thus, began my post stroke sojourn back into the joy and celebration of cooking. Admittedly, I have amassed a large collection of cooking tools made specifically for one-handed use, but I have also found, repurposed and/or redesigned common kitchen tools that can be found at any kitchen store or in the kitchen tool aisle at most grocery or hardware stores. My “One-handed Kitchen Essential Tools” video is a good place to begin.
We all need to eat. Whether you are cooking for yourself or others cooking is a great place to regain and/or reassert your independence. I’m told it’s good therapy, too.