Cooking and the kitchen lie close to the American heart. Gatherings over home-cooked meals are the centerpiece of many fond memories, and the kitchen is where people seem to gravitate during parties.
Yet, the enjoyment of both can be curtailed as one ages. I wrote about one side of this recently — the ability to enjoy food — in “Food for Seniors Doesn’t Have to Be Bland,” and now I’d like to look at the cooking angle.
While dexterity and vision may not be what they once were, we are lucky enough to live in a time when man’s ingenuity comes to the rescue. Technological aids can bridge the gap when needed, and there are quite a few of them.
One complaint often heard is the declining hand strength. This can make many common tasks, including a lot of basic prep work, a challenge. Fortunately, electricity can make up where the muscles are lacking. Using an electric vegetable peeler can ease the strain even for arthritic hands.
For those who often find themselves opening cans (which might be a strain even on younger hands), there are specially designed can openers that operate on batteries and take the fight out of the process.
Restaurant professionals always stand on a cushioned mat when working, in order to ease the bodily strain of being on one’s feet on a hard surface all day. Now firstSTREET brings that same approach into the home with the Air Flex Comfort Mat. Using a mat like this can reduce stress on the back, neck, shoulders, and legs. (This one does not have use limited to the kitchen: Think of how much better it would make other tasks around the home, such as ironing clothes, or in a home workshop.)
One adjustment that is sometimes hard to make if that of changing portion size and cooking style. As the body ages, its dietary requirements change, including a drop in the number of calories required. Devices like the Total Chef Infrared Cooking System make it easier to adjust to these changes. Its combination of infrared, conduction, and convection cooking seal in the juices, reducing the need for oils and fats. Since you do not need to defrost food before cooking, it also makes it easier to reduce portion sizes, thus helping you stick to your diet.
There is no need to forego the joy of cooking as one ages, and, with the right tools, you can be the master of your kitchen for years to come!