Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm Cooking. Someone Take the Batteries Out of the Smoke Detector!

It’s amazing to me that you can always surprise yourself; discover things about yourself that you didn’t know until you tried them. I mean I knew I liked writing from a pretty young  and that I was pretty good at it, and as a teenager I always had a camera with me, but in the last couple of years I have discovered a few new things. The first was sewing. Which I tried after my Mother-in-Law invented me to take a quilting class with her. I had ALWAYS wanted a quilt. As it turned out, I liked it and although I cannot say I am good at it, I am not bad either. I like it, and I plan to keep doing it for some time.

The second thing was almost more surprising because it was a self-discovery. I do not have a good history with cooking. In my teens, when I was in charge of dinner, I made tuna melts and tomato soup and I usually burned the soup. Then there was that never-live-it-down-moment when I mixed up the salt and sugar in a cookie disaster not even the animals would touch. I went away to college at 19, but up until recently I avoided cooking anything that wasn’t of the pull-it-out-of- the-package-and throw-it–in-the-oven\pot variety. Then we bought a house with a giant kitchen and I thought I would take a stab at it.

The first order of business was to get a cookbook. After much debate with my Mother-in-Law over prices that were ridiculous. We settled on this baby:

Which according to the listing online I paid way too much for at the bookstore! YIKES.

After that I got cooking and discovered four important things. (a) I liked cooking, (b) I was pretty good at it, (c) Pretending like you have a cooking show is a lot of fun and (b) cooking is (physically) hard.

This particular cookbook has times for both the actual cooking and the preparations so that you can appropriately determine when to start dinner. These are benchmarks for failure, my friends. At least if you have CP and happen to take 30 minutes to peel potatoes, 20 minutes to finely dice an onion through tears, and have a goal of getting the garlic clove sliced thin before your first born goes off to college. I quick discovered that a recipe with 20 minute of prep and 30 minute of cook time would take me about an hour and a half to execute. After that hour and a half I had a delicious meal I could be proud of but I was also exhausted.

I went on cooking at this pace for several months; and then the sky open up, a light shone down and Tom proposed. His proposal brought with it a new life, a new future and a bright and shiny web-based wedding registry which I promptly filled with all those gadgets that the rest of the world looks at and thinks: “Really, someone is THAT lazy?” Bless those lazy people. Bless them.

The people that invent kitchen appliances are the kings and queens of ingenuity. They have turned the kitchen from a place of blood sweat in tears into a joyful place where aroma’s waft, sauces bubble and tummies are delighted in under an hour.

Here are a few things I LOVE. They save me so much time and energy that I can no longer imagine life without them.

That onion that used to take me an hour? 5 seconds baby! I also threw away my blender. This little gem blends anything in seconds and the cleanup is no harder than it was before. Two word of caution though. The blades are INSANLY sharp, so ya know, don’t touch them, and the blades come apart and can be put back together the wrong way. If you do that they’ll get hopelessly stuck and you’ll need a strong strapping hunk of a man to pry them apart. Fortunately, I married one of those and he saved me $8 + shipping on a replacement blade.

The second thing I could not live without is this adorable piece of equipment.  

It’s called a garlic zoom. Isn’t it cute? You stick the garlic in the chamber and then roll it over a hard surface and the blades chop the garlic. It’s gotten a few bad reviews because it is hard to get every piece of garlic out of it, but in my opinion it doesn't waste any more than a garlic press. This gadget is small. My first one was pulverized by Tom when it fell into the disposal without me knowing and Tom turned on the disposal without checking it first. I went out and bought another because I put garlic in everything. Garlic is my hot sauce.

And my third and most beloved disability friendly kitchen appliance? Behold:

I love wine. I love to drink wine and cook with wine but until this little wonder I never did because not only are traditional corkscrews not disability friendly, they are not Tom friendly either. We used to buy a bottle and stare at it longly until someone who could work a corkscrew finally came over. Now with a simple push of a button. My wine is open! Don’t worry; I have not become a lush.

Lastly, I will just say I love tongs. They are great for picking up dropped food, and for reaching things off high shelves. I never use them in actual cooking, but they are right there in the holder next to the spatulas and the spoons, just in case.

So, what are your favorite kitchen appliances?


  1. Brilliant. I have all but the wine opener (coughbirthdaygiftcough). Another great thing is the "slice-o-matic" that Tony's mom got me. Now I want to go slice something! =)

  2. Using a blender of any kind to chop is off limits to me until we get a dishwasher. I just would not be able to clean it. Imagine my joy, then, when my local supermarket started selling packets of fresh, ready-diced onion! Marvellous! Frozen mashed potato and bagged stir-fry veg mix also come in this category.

    My garlic press is the Joseph Joseph garlic rocker. I like Joseph Joseph anyway but this is one of those things, it's pretty, there's no blades, it couldn't be easier to clean, and when you use it you just gently rock it down onto a clove of garlic and the bits sit neatly on top, ready for you to tap them out either into the cooking or back onto the board for another squishing.

    But my all-time favourite disability cooking device is the slow-cooker. I'm not a fan of washing up, so one-pot cooking is my idea of a great idea. But further to that - I can do all the prep at my own speed during my "best" time of day, and it doesn't matter that "20mins prep" has taken me two hours and made me half-dead, because at the end of that time, all the ingredients are in the pot and I have six whole hours to have a nap, relax, put myself back together... Steve gets home to a wife who's no longer scarily exhausted and a home that smells of delicious food, all we have to do at dinner time is nuke some mashed potato and ladle out the stew.

    1. The Ninja is super easy to clean! Much easier than my blender and my slow-cooker; which I also LOVE and forgot about when writing this post because it wasn't new. Oops! :)

  3. I found you from the Etsy blog (congrats on the feature)!

    It gave me a little thrill to read how much easier small appliances make your life. I know many people who have only one usable hand love the Krups Open Master can opener, and say it's the only can opener they can use.

    1. I hate my can opener! I will have to take a look. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. I love the garlic zoom! It's so easy (and fun!) to use.

    I found your blog via etsy. I'm getting married this summer. Thanks for writing!