Coffee with Kalari: Cooking in the Dark!

One of my newfound loves is cooking. I never used to like to cook, but now I have kids and a husband who all love to eat! Ordering out can be pretty expensive after a while, so my only option was to learn how to move around the kitchen. I started off slow, just cooking basic meals like baked chicken and pasta, but then I began to get more comfortable at the stove. I took some Adapted Daily Living classes as a child but similar to most people, when I lived with my parents they cooked and I just ate. I really did not start cooking my own meals until I moved out.

Once in my own apartment, I was able to arrange the kitchen how I wanted. Currently, I have my stove and microwave labeled with raised dots, and my canned goods and seasonings are labeled in braille. My measuring spoons and cups are also labeled. I have no talking utensils yet, but I hope to get some in the future.

Initially, I found learning how to cook was very scary. I was frightened of the stove and getting burned. In my early days of cooking, I burned myself frequently. Either the food was too hot when I checked its texture by touch or I would burn parts of my arms when I reached into the stove. I invested in oven mitts that extended up my arm providing more protection. This helped me feel more confident as I began to use my oven more. Over time, I became more comfortable and learned how to master a few dinnertime favorites.  One of my favorite meals to cook is my homemade chili. I cook the meat over the stove and then chop up onions and bell peppers. I then allow it to simmer with the meat. I then cook my beans and add in tomato sauce and my chili is done.

Another meal that I love to cook is turkey lasagna. Similar to the chili, I cook my meat with onions and bell peppers. The meat simmers in the pot and then I cook the pasta and prepare the cheesy layers. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare and 60 minutes to cook. This was a meal I mastered over time.

As I grew more confident in the kitchen, I began to explore different recipes. I found recipes on YouTube, which are very helpful. One of my favorite channels is Six Sisters’ Stuff. They go into detail describing each step to make their meals and they are easy to follow. I also use various health apps on my phone such as the Weight Watchers app, which helps me locate healthy recipes easily. I invested in a Crock-Pot and an Instant Pot as well which saved my life. Both of these devices are accessible and so easy to use that I never get burned. Additionally, I found products here at The Lighthouse’s Tools for Living Retail Store that are very helpful, such as the CAN-Weigh Talking Kitchen Scale, which allows you to accurately weigh your food. This is very important when trying to eat healthy. I also found the Black and White Low Vision Cutting Board to be a great investment! I am still learning when it comes to cooking but at least I am much further along now than where I was years ago!

When did you start cooking on your own? How soon did it take you to get comfortable in the kitchen? Do you use any talking appliances when you are cooking? I would love to hear your stories!

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