Gadgets for Safer, Easier At-home Cooking, by Alyssa Dimmick

Alyssa smiles while stirring ravioli in a frying pan in her kitchen.

Life with COVID-19 means many of us are cooking at home a lot more often. Cooking can be a challenge for people with disabilities, but assistive kitchen gadgets can help relieve the stress of cooking. Fortunately, there are many kitchen advances that help individuals with disabilities remain independent in the kitchen.

One of the hardest and most dangerous tasks in food prep is cutting and dicing foods. This is especially true for individuals with low vision, arthritis, poor dexterity, or other disabilities. Rocker knives provide a mechanical advantage for safely cutting food. The unique design allows you to apply pressure from directly above so that less strength and dexterity are needed to cut. MaxiAids Rocking Knife, the Sammons Preston Rocking Knife and the DMI Verti Grip Knife are excellent options available on Amazon. If you want extra help protecting your fingers while cutting, finger protectors easily slip over the fingers on the hand that’s holding the food to be cut, guarding your fingers from accidents. Finger protectors come in many designs and materials. The Sansheng Finger Guard Plate is one of the many options available.

Person using food prep board to hold tomato for one-handed slicing.Adaptive cutting boards also help drastically reduce the challenge of slicing and dicing. These cutting boards come in varying forms and are great for individuals with low vision and disabilities that affect hand and arm dexterity or require one-handed use. The Homecraft Single-handed Cutting Board  is an affordable option that includes removable spikes to hold food in place while chopping or slicing and a walled corner to allow for one-handed spreading. The Etac Deluxe One-handed Paring Board  features a clamp that will hold food items in place for cutting and can also be used for various different tasks, such as holding a grater in place.

Some adaptive cutting boards come with an attached knife, which are designed for individuals with upper extremity, fine motor or grasping disabilities or tremors. This MaxiAids Cutting Board has a pivot knife attached, which can be removed for cleaning and sharpening.
Cutting foods can be difficult for individuals with low vision, especially when trying to cut on surfaces with zero contrast. Multicolored cutting board sets such as the STGA Multicolor Cutting Mat Set can make it easier to see the foods you’re preparing.

Pot is stabilized on stove top so it can be stirred one-handed without sliding around.Pot stabilizers are an adaptive cooking aid that keeps pots and pans in place while stirring or serving. These gadgets use rubber suction cups that seal to the stovetop and keep the pot or pan from moving, allowing for one-handed use. The North Coast Medical Pan Holder and the
Sammons Preston Folding Pot Stabilizer are reasonably priced and available on Amazon.

Opener gadgets use ergonomics to help easily open plastic bottles, jars and pull-tab cans. These are great tools for people with low grip strength or weakness or pain in fingers, hands, or wrists. Opener gadgets come in many different designs for a variety of uses. A few options that we like are the Brenium Multifunctional Opener, the Magic Opener and the Universal Jar Opener.

There are many more gadgets available to make your time in the kitchen easier. Consider kettle tippers to aid Clear, plastic pitcher-style measuring cups.with pouring hot liquids (Able Jug Kettle Tipper, Aidapt Kettle Tipper), universal holder straps to help hold utensils (Kinsman EazyHold Silicone Adaptive Straps, Sammons Preston Universal Holder Strap, Rehabilitation Advantage Black Strap Holder), knob turners that aid in turning stove dials (Homecraft Contour Turner, Kinsman Stove Knob Turner, Parsons ADL Stove Turner), and angled measuring cups that allow measurements to be read from above, eliminating the need to fill, check and adjust liquids (OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup Set).

MonTECH has many of the items listed above available through our equipment loan program.  Items can be borrowed for 30 days at a time; we ship to you for free, you pay for return shipping.  While the majority of our loan items are now available to borrow, some have been temporarily removed from the loan pool until we receive the proper cleaning supplies necessary for killing COVID-19. If you need help requesting items, please call us at (406) 243-5751. If you have questions about MonTECH’s cleaning protocol, please call Maddy at (406) 243-4539.