Image by: Nicole Abalde
As inventors continue along their paths of obsessive innovation – producing useful and extremely un-useful gadgets by the day – the worlds of cooking and kitchen design are also being transformed.
Social media, online sharing and speaking cooking tablets have brought a whole new level to those fascinated by the world of cooking all around the world.
Once, we could have been forgiven for thinking that love for the kitchen was on its way out – machines were taking over, microwaves were now an expected household item, and people were becoming unimpressed by the idea of having to wash their own dishes when a machine could do it for them.
But one quick google search of ‘designer kitchens’ or simply ‘food’ will tell you this is far from reality– discovering new forms of cooking, new ingredients, and different ways of designing our kitchens is probably one of the most trendy things around at the moment.
Lots of gadgets out there are sometimes introduced for the sake of producing something new, like the avocado slicer; I mean, avocado is soft, you can use a spoon! But there are other areas of development which have been brilliant and life changing for many – in particular, I’m talking about technological developments that have taken place in the world of blind cooking.
Here are some great ideas and solutions for a blind chef in the modern world:
A Special Kind of Stove – ‘Touch & Turn’
This stove has emerged out of a collaborative project between RNIB and Action for Blind people; safety is always going to be one of the main issues for a blind person in a kitchen, which is why they’ve devised a pot to remain cool on the outside whilst food is being heated inside.
The ‘Touch & Turn’ label comes from the way the pot also works as a stove-top knob –to check the temperature of the heat the user just needs to check where the lower part has been turned to. The large indicators included on the outside area of the stove also resemble Braille, designed to make it easy for a blind person to know how much and where to turn the lower part of the pot when using it.
Beauty and the Beast is no longer the only place you’ll find a range of inanimate objects talking in the kitchen. Now most commonly used kitchen gadgets can talk to their users –helping blind chefs massively.
Talking kitchen scales can announce the weight and measurements, programmed to speak in a clear voice as various ingredients are added to a bowl or container.
Meat is one of the most dangerous things to get right in terms of thorough cooking, but now talking meat thermometers can ensure blind chefs have heated their food thoroughly.
Such talking options can also be used by way of audio labelling – the user records an audio message onto a special label which gets attached to the relevant ingredient or container.
Silicone Lined Oven Mitts
These mitts are another great idea – lightweight and comfy, they’re designed to provide more than just burn protection because, due to the material, they provide the wearer with a unique tactile feel, perfect for testing the feel of food readiness, food turning, food location, where the pan is etc.
Christine Ha of MasterChef
Many public figures in recent history have demonstrated how blindness doesn’t have to get in the way of talent or success: Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Louis Braille himself.
But in the kitchen, it’s hard to miss the obvious challenges that a blind chef might meet – where the ingredients are, measuring ingredients, avoiding burns and the list goes on.
Christine Ha, a blind contestant of MasterChef who recently reached the final stages of this competition in the US, has highlighted ways round such obstacles.
Ha was given no extra support on the show other than an assistant to guide her around a kitchen she didn’t know well. Asides from this, she was in the same boat as everyone else… with just a few of these kitchen gadgets to help.
I do believe these are the moments to commend technological innovation in the age we live in.
Estelle Page is a happily married interior designer obsessed with redecorating her house again and again – she also blogs for kdcuk and oves to keep up to date with all the latest kitchen trends and developments.