A cup of black coffee. White sugar falls in the coffee from a spoon.

Dinning in the Dark made me wonder about other things, like how it would be to cook in the dark. How can you identify the right condiments, and not end up putting salt instead of sugar in the coffee (I have seen it happen!). Or even something as basic as avoid burning yourself while taking a dish out of the oven would be harder if you could not see.

Cooking can be a challenging experience for many, and vision loss can make it even more challenging.  However, it does not have to be that way.  Cooking in the dark is, like many things, a matter of organization, learning new techniques and using a few tools that make certain tasks easier.  Frankly, you don’t have to suffer from low vision to benefit from those techniques. 

The American Foundation for the Blind on their Vision Aware site has a very useful series of posts about this topic. Their article “Safe Cooking Techniques for Cooks Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision” is fantastic.  I could use some of those techniques myself!  For example, it recommends using a pizza cutter instead of a knife for slicing sandwiches, or a cutting board with a pivot knife for cutting ingredients, or a double spatula for turning food.  One of the recommended tools is an adjustable knife with a slice guide for adjusting slices to your desired size.  How about that! 

Another important aspect of cooking is using your other senses. If you are mixing a batter by hand you can feel when it is reaching the point when everything is uniform. You can hear when liquids come to a boil or the sizzling on a skillet to know if the temperature on the burner is right. And, of course, you can use your senses of smell and taste. That is why blind chef Christine Ha TV cooking show is called “Four Senses.” Christine was the winner of the “Master Chef” TV show in 2012 and now hosts “Four Senses” with Carl Heinrich, winner of “Top Chef” Canada. The show airs on Accessible Media, Inc. (AMI).

Check this video from Christine, that she recorded herself while cooking, using a GoPro camera (unfortunately the video does not have descriptions).  After all the talk about cooking techniques, Christine is a Pro and skillfully handles the knife and everything else in her kitchen. Look at the fine slicing of the scallions and the fine chopping of the garlic. Not special tools needed!  Many of us wish to be as skillful as she is!


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