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Could you...?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, the backstory to this is that I "lost" my right arm in a motorcycle crash a little over a year ago. Fortunately, I was left-handed in the first place, so adapting to the new circumstance hasn't been as bad as it might have been. Less fortunately, my other shoulder was also pulverized so reaching above eye level is at best difficult.

That said, We've just gotten done with a kitchen renovation, and I refuse to let one-handedness keep me from the kitchen. Some concessions that have been made include:
- nails through the cutting boards from the bottom, so there is a spike to hold food for chopping
- lots of gizmos from a company called "Progressive", which makes a lot of thingys you might receive as a gift from someone who doesn't cook, like egg slicers, veggie choppers, etc. Did you know an egg slicer will slice a mushroom or a cherry tomato perfectly?
- a suction-cup gadget for holding a pan handle to keep it from sliding or spinning on the glass-top cooktop.

I'm trying to think of other stuff to do or buy that will allow me to continue cooking normally. With respect to the fact that many people feel they could cook with one arm tied behind their back, I'd ask, "How?"

Oh yeah- I do have a prosthetic arm with an electric hook, but it's quite uncomfortable, not very functional, and NOT WATERPROOF. So, I don't use it much.

Biggest issues are:
- properly holding a pan so a stainless pan doesn't scoot away across the ice rink of my glass cooktop.
- lifting pots from one spot to another, such as getting the boiling pasta pot to the sink to dump the boiling water. (Try THAT one-handed! :eek: )

Anything else y'all think of will be taken as a welcome suggestion.:chef:
post #2 of 12
You seem to be adapting quite well. wow

Anyway, I used to know a guy who lost both arms. He was a farmer. Like you, he had prosthetic arms that he didn't really like, so they used to mostly hang at his side until he needed them for a specific task. He taught his dog to do a tremendous amount for him. That dog could fetch and carry as well as get things out of awkward places (beer out of cooler, for example).

So here's a funny story about him...

We were at a sheepdog trial (One Man and his Dog type of thing) and one particular dog was doing very, very badly. A fellow yelled over to the man with no arms and said, "Heard you trained that dog." The man with no arms shouted back, "Yes, trained him on hand signals."

While a dog may not fit your needs, I think your willingness to think outside the box should be applauded. Best of luck to you and keep us updated.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
My dog needs no training to get on the counter, unfortunately. His tongue grows amazingly long when he wants something off the cutting board. Little booger :mad:
post #4 of 12
I had a cat like that. The cat loved chocolate and peanut butter, but knew he wasn't allowed any. He would drop his body to the ground and squish it out flat and then his nose would slide across the floor ever so slowly, gradually reaching the chocolate... almost like he was being pulled along by the aroma.
post #5 of 12
Had an idea about the pan problem. Does the pan have a hole in the handle? If so, you could install a hook of some sort either to the counter next to the stove or onto the stove itself. Then the pan will be held in place, but have some flexibility for you to move it. Don't know if I've described my idea correctly enough to get the point across.
post #6 of 12

shuttle tiles...

what about a silpat type of "coaster" for the bottom of the pan? like a doughnut or disc for the bottom of the pan to "set" on the glass top and still cook thru.

Huston, we have a mission.....:chef:

sorry to hear about the loss of your arm, you seem like you are not about to let that limit you. :roll:
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #7 of 12
Blue,

You might look for some pots and pans from a restaurant supply store. Many of them come with a mostly soft grip handle. These grips, which can also be purchased separately are ovenproof up to about 400-450F, I believe. Not only would they work wonders for your ability to hold on to them, but since they ARE professional quality, they can take lots of abuse. (Trust me, pans are abused in a professional kitchen.)

And yes, I knew the egg slicer for mushrooms. I taught some of my prep cooks that wonderful trick when we used to have to break down 5 lbs of mushrooms each morning and evening.

Any chance you can (or would) get rid of that glass top and go to something more 'conventional'? Yes, you'd lose the ease of cleaning, but you won't be dancing across the top with your pots and pans.

Sorry I can't think of anything to help you with that pot of pasta water.

Ciao,
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
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Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Re: the cooktop- that's a can't and won't. We can't get gas out here in the woods so electric is the only option (except for CNG) and a ceramic top is way better than coils.

Mr. Brown- I like the silpat-esque idea, but is that stuff cooktop-safe? I couldn't imagine it could take a blast from a burner...:confused:

Free rider- now THAT'S my kind of gearhead solution. Ain't nothing you can't fix with some angle iron and duct tape! Hmmm.... drilling through granite... time to shop for power tools. :D
post #9 of 12
pasta sieve insert.....drain with one long handle insert at the stove and place right into the bowl sitting next to the stove. great for blanching too.....

ceramic blades are sharp.....really sharp....

my guy had fine motor incoordination and ordered all kinds of kitchen equipment from special catalogs....he had long bakers sleeves, lots of tongs,
etc.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 12
An idea: With a pasta pot, you can try one with an insert, or just fish the pasta out of there with a strainer when it's done. When the water cools down, ladle some out with a huge ladle and then dump it out when you can handle it.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
The wife just bought me a pot with a pasta insert. There's a reason I love that woman...

Baker's sleeves? It may sound silly, but I've been using welder's gauntlets (or one gauntlet, anyway.) Elbow-length leather/nomex gloves picked up in a tool shop. That way I can use my whole forearm to lever a tray or roasting pan out of the oven. Not water- or steam-proof though, so it takes some thought and care to use. What's a baker's sleeve?
post #12 of 12
With regards to the stovetop issue... perhaps you could look for, or have one built, some kind of "brace" or "backtop" to secure the pan... the backstop could be rounded or shaped to craddle the pan... of course, having it made out of some heat-resistant material woul be ideal... at worst, you could use a couple of heaver pots, or pots filled with water as backstops...

Of course, you'd sacrifice the rear burners, but you could probably get by with just the front two :)
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