I love to cook. I love new recipes. I’m not really a baker but I love cooking meals. My first husband was from India and I learned how to cook some incredible Indian dishes. Cooking Indian food is very labor intensive, but it is well worth the effort!
I also love Mexican and Italian food. I love mixing different tastes and try new things. I appreciate many flavors and I’m drawn to foods that have robust flavors. I like food spicy and fairly hot.
One of my most annoying MS symptoms (actually they all are) is my right hand weakness. And I am a right-handed person. I’ve had to learn how to do a lot of things with my left hand, but chopping and stirring are not among them. And my hand weakens very quickly. So if anything takes a lot of chopping, slicing, dicing I have a very difficult time doing that. And if something requires a lot of stirring it’s also difficult for me. I have purchased a pogo whisk, which really helps.
I read a recent article on everydayhealth.com about energy conserving cooking strategies. Trevis Gleason, a retired chef due to MS, says we should figure ways around our difficulties. I’ve always maintained that we need to overcome our weaknesses and increase our strengths.
In this article it lists the following strategies:
- Organize your kitchen so that the things that you use are within your reach.
- Create a meal plan, choosing dishes that cook similarly. In other words, if you have the oven on for one, you may want to consider pairing it with another dish that requires the same heat setting.
- Chop ahead. If ingredients need to be chopped, diced, julienned or ground you can prepare them and store them. That way you can do those tasks when it’s most convenient and your energy is high.
- Shopping strategically, which means mapping out your shopping trip and list according to the store layout. I have definitely found that useful. I have my list ordered in the way the story is laid out.
- Reheat for flavor. Many recipes are better the second day. So again you can prepare before hand when your energy is high.
- Build a recipe box. Find the recipes that are easily prepared and that you like so that you can go back to them on other occasions.
- Refresh before dinner. Cook earlier in the day and then rest before dinner time. Gleason suggests a nap or a cool shower before you begin the final preparations can make a huge difference.
- Invest in adaptive kitchen tools. Such as tools with large padded grips, food processor, slow cooker, lightweight cookware, electric, and electric jar opener, ergonomic tools, and the reacher grabber. There are also some pretty neat devices shown periodically on TV–like the pogo whisk. The article also has a link to arthritis friendly tools.
- Lastly, recruit a sous chef. This could be your spouse, friend, or child.
Now that I’m living with my mother at her retirement community, there is no need for me to do a lot of cooking. We get our evening meal in the dining room on the property. So all I need to worry about right now is breakfast and lunch. And I make those meals pretty simple.
But I truly miss cooking. In the case where I would have to start cooking again, I would definitely invest in some tools that make it easier for me. Cooking it’s just one of the things that have become difficult due to my multiple sclerosis symptoms. But I maintain that MS will not get the better of me! As it has been said before, I may have MS, but MS doesn’t have me!