Like many people, I love to cook. One of my favorite activities at Turnstone’s Adult Day Services program is the monthly cooking class, where I have learned to make all sorts of tasty dishes ranging from homemade peanut butter cups to grilled honey mustard chicken. I’ve also spent many hours watching cooking competitions on Netflix, and I have saved countless recipes on Facebook that I might never get around to actually making.
Although it is one of my favorite hobbies, cooking comes with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles. For example, I’m not able to reach into the oven, and cooking over a hot stove has a high potential for me to burn myself due to my limited arm movement. I am unable to lift my elbows off my armrests without help. I can only pick up items that weigh around a quarter of a pound, and my grip is limited. Because of this, I am always looking for recipes that can be prepared on a non-heated surface where I don’t have to worry about what happens if I drop a spatula, or if my arms bump into pots and cooking utensils.
For me, the solution often comes in the form of a crockpot. While I still need a fair amount of help from one of my home-care nurses, this method enables me to measure and add ingredients from the safety of the kitchen table. Once the pot is in front of me, my nurse can help me lift containers and measuring cups so that I can use a plastic spoon to scoop in ingredients like cheese and spices. I am also able to use a lightweight whisk to mix sauces in the bottom of the pot. My awesome nurse often completes the more challenging parts of the recipes such as chopping potatoes, shredding meat, or getting sides in and out of the oven. After the product of our teamwork has been assembled in the pot, all that is left to do is turn it on and let it cook until dinnertime when my family returns home.
There are a great many people – both disabled and able-bodied – who will tell you that their crockpot is their favorite kitchen gadget. For me, it’s not just a handy gadget, but a tool that makes it a little easier for me to share my love of cooking with my family and friends. When we work together, my nurse, the trusty crockpot, and I can tackle my culinary challenges and dish up a delicious dinner that will hopefully be a hit.
Regardless of what I decide to make, this taste of independence is one of the things that makes me look forward to my turn cooking dinner. That and getting to share a homemade meal with my wonderful family at the end of the day!
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.