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Planning for the Thanksgiving Holiday Feast

Planning for the Thanksgiving Holiday Feast

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, whether hosting, cooking a dish, setting the table, or just attending festivities, if you or your guests are blind or have low vision, advance planning and a few practical tips can add to the celebration.

Cooking Tips and Resources
Following are some suggested “ingredients” for an enjoyable holiday experience for the cook with limited or no vision, provided by the APH (American Printing House for the Blind) Connect Center:
– Determine your skill level and plan dishes accordingly. Examples: If you’re still learning adaptive skills, plan dishes such as easy-to-assemble casseroles, or oven bag meats, or poultry. For the cook who is more comfortable with kitchen skills, make rolls or desserts from scratch.
– Recruit friends or family to help with “food prep fun.”
– Check out online groups geared toward the cook who is visually impaired that provide tips and accessible recipes and answer questions. Sources include Google Groups, Yahoo groups, and Facebook.
– Make of list of what you are preparing and need to purchase, using braille, large print, a digital recorder, or smart phone.
Read more from APH Connect about Cooking for the Holidays When You Are Blind or Visually Impaired.

Adaptive Cooking Strategies, Tools, and Informative Resources

Adaptive cooking tools, strategies, and “specialized knowledge” are offered by The Blind Kitchen to cooks who are blind or visually impaired. Examples are tips for cooking hot dishes and using sharp knives and other tools safely. Their Library covers such topics as how people with vision loss can organize the kitchen and pantry, identify food items in closed containers, and access and read recipes, to name a few. The Blind Kitchen also offers a catalog of cooking tools for purchase, including such items as a “Boil Alert Disk,” that makes a rattling sound (for $6.99), and “Egg Rings,” that help to contain or mold liquid foods as they cook (for $7.99). Their catalog features extensive cooking collections for purchase as well. The organization’s founder and executive chef, Debra Erickson, who is blind, emphasizes that “vision loss does not have to end your love of cooking.” Adaptive techniques and tools make it possible to “work around your vision loss.” A culinary school graduate and cooking instructor for adults who are blind and visually impaired, Erickson shares her knowledge with other experienced and aspiring cooks. Find out more about how Everyone has a place at the table in The Blind Kitchen!!

Hosting a Dinner Guest with Vision Loss
Hosts whose guests may be experiencing vision loss can find it “difficult to know what someone can see and where that person may struggle in a new location.” A few subtle steps can be taken to provide a “low-vision friendly holiday gathering.” Set up all table arrangements uniformly; do not single out the individual with vision loss. A few specific tips on “being a good host when you have a guest with vision loss” are offered in a blog written by Jessica Hipp, chief operating officer of WayAround®, which features an app for smart devices that “provides on-demand details about everyday things.” Pointers included in the blog include modifications such as making table settings high contrast, avoiding tall glasses to prevent spilling, and keeping decorations and other hazards off surfaces that are frequently used (like coffee tables). Find out more about these and other tips by reading the WayAround blog on How to be a Good Host for a Dinner Guest with Vision Loss.