Wouldn’t it be nice to have hands that worked without aching? Unfortunately, meds to treat autoimmune arthritis only slow the disease; they don’t halt progression or provide a cure. In the kitchen, achy hands make meal prep a challenge.
Although I try to cook with fresh ingredients, sometimes it is necessary to open cans. My preferred method of opening a can has been to hand the can and opener to someone and raise my eyebrows in a silent plea for help. Unfortunately, my kids are growing up and either playing sports or heading to college, which throws a wrench in my can-opening options. Everyone in the house recognized the problem, so my kids did some research in an attempt to find me the best electric can opener on the market. I have great kids! They gave me a Hamilton Beach 76606Z for Christmas, which means I’ve had it long enough to know that it is a very good can opener. I can now open cans even if there’s nobody else in the house and my hands and wrists prevent use of a traditional-style can opener.
The other kitchen acquisition that has helped tremendously is a good-quality mandoline. Note the “good quality” modifier. I used to have an inexpensive model, and cutting things with it was an exercise in frustration. The one I replaced it with is fabulous. I first saw it demonstrated at a fair, then did some research before buying. The price on Amazon has come down in the past year and beats the fair price by a good bit. This mandoline will slice tomatoes, pickles, mushrooms, potatoes, and probably anything else you might want to slice (except avocados — it gets jammed on the pit when slicing so effortlessly you don’t realize you’re already that far into the fruit). I like the fact that the slice thickness is determined by a fixed bed. You choose the thickness you want and easily insert the appropriate cutting bed. My old mandoline had a knob that I turned to adjust the cut-depth and it had a tendency to slip while in use. With this setup, there is nothing that can slip and inadvertently change the slice-size. I also like the V-blade, because it will slice soft things like tomatoes just as perfectly as it slices firm foods like potatoes. I also like that it’s mostly stainless steel instead of plastic. The Borner V6 comes with a holder that can be mounted on the kitchen wall. Since there’s no space on my walls to mount anything, I just leave it sitting on the counter beside my KA.
My favorite cooking tool is a crockpot. Any kind, every kind. Start oatmeal at bedtime and it’s ready in the morning when you get up. Start supper in the morning, and it will be ready to eat when you get home in the evening. Everyone should own at least one crockpot (IMHO).
If your budget is like mine, you can’t afford a personal chef. A few good kitchen tools will make a world of difference.
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Disclaimer: while I’m not opposed to people sending me gadgets or money, that didn’t happen here. I bought my mandoline and crockpots, and my kids bought my can opener.