Kitchen Safety: Tips, Tricks, and Products for the Visually Impaired

Posted by Alicia Baucom on Jul 17th 2020

Cooking can be a fun pastime enjoyable by anyone regardless of ability if the proper equipment and precautions are utilized. This blog will look at some tips, tricks, and products to use before, during, and after making a meal to keep the kitchen safe and this age-old hobby enjoyable. These suggestions are geared towards the visually impaired but can be useful for anyone wishing to learn more about kitchen safety.

Preparation/Prep Work

The Perkins School for the Blind offers an 8-step cheat sheet for preparing your kitchen for safe cooking. These tips are helpful if you’re blind and preparing to tackle a culinary challenge, or if you’re helping someone who is visually impaired set up a cooking environment. Below are two of these tips. Tip One: Be smart about labeling foods. You don’t need to label items that are in distinctive packaging, such as a can of shortening, baking powder or milk. (If you have similar milk and juice containers in your fridge, put a rubber band on one to tell them apart.) Label different containers that are similar in shape, like tuna and cat food, soups, breakfast cereal boxes and oils and vinegars. Use braille or large-print labels and rubber bands, tactile markers on rubber bands, or a Pen Friend. Tip Two: Use a cafeteria tray at your prep area to organize materials and contain spills. Anticipate making somewhat of a mess (that’s part of the fun of cooking!). Locate and take out all ingredients and supplies before starting to cook so you won’t need to hunt for things later. A simple method of organizing is to place all your waiting-to-be-used ingredients and equipment on the left side of the tray. Do the actual prep work – slicing, mixing and so on – on the tray. After using an ingredient or piece of equipment, move it to the right side of the tray. When you’re finished cooking, all the items that need to be cleaned, put away or tossed into the trash will be in one place. If you’re looking for a safe way to chop your food check out this Zick-Zick Classic Food Chopper.

Safe Cooking Tips

VisionAware offers many tips for kitchen and cooking safety. They state that cooking in the face of vision loss can be extremely intimidating whether you are a beginner or a seasoned cook. One of the most important aspects of cooking safely is preparation before you cook. Tip One: Know the dials on your stove. Make notches or use bump dots on dials (or oven stickers) to locate commonly used settings such as the broiling functions and oven temperatures 275, 350 and for low, medium, high for burners. Formulate a system that works best for you. Another option is to use an Induction Cooktop, only the vessel heating the food gets hot. Tip Two: Purchase proper oven gloves. Look for ones that cover your forearms to avoid burns when removing items from the oven and handling pots and pans on a stove top. Remove protruding tags or pieces of material as these could come into contact with the element and ignite. Cool Touch Oven Racks are also an option as they protect your fingers and arms from inadvertent burns.

Clean Up

WikiHow offers an in depth look at cleaning advice for the visually impaired. Here are a few of those tips geared towards kitchen cleanup. Tip One: Wipe down all food surfaces immediately. As soon as you are finished cooking, get out cleaning wipes and go over the entire area. Wipe down the stovetop, which will prevent grease from accumulating. Go over the countertops as well as any other preparation areas. If you used the microwave or another appliance, don’t forget to wipe them down as well. Tip Two: Wash the dishes slowly. Take your time as you turn on the hot water to rinse everything, making sure to test the temperature. Wash the glasses to begin with and handle each piece of glass separately to avoid hitting them against one another. Finish the rinsing process with heavier items, such as pots or pans. For dishwashers use your free hand to feel for open spaces in the dishwasher. Follow a standard loading pattern and place the glasses, dishes, and pans in the same location every time. This will also make unloading easier. To see what’s currently on sale at ILA please sign up for our newsletter, view our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website.