Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Wednesday 11 August - You still have lifelines left..........

If there's one thing guaranteed to make me fume it's when people assume, because I'm sitting in a wheelchair, that I must also be not very bright;  when they see my hearing aids, that I must have learning difficulties.  Sometimes the people who make these assumptions are so-called healthcare professionals.  You can tell who they are: they call everyone else "luv" but me "Darling" or "Sweetheart".   Would you believe it!

I'm what you might call fortunate in that a) I've been like this quite a while and b) live in England where, despite what you may have heard to the contrary, we have a fairly good National Health Service.   I mean,we ourselves villify the NHS but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.  It's just that some of their staff could do with a training update.

I decided long since that I should try and make life easy for myself.  I asked myself what things were important to me and cooking came top.  On the negative side we don't have a dishwasher.  On the positive side I can wash up by hand.  I don't like it but I can!  These days I use all sorts of gadgets I wouldn't have bothered with in years gone by.

This food processor is something I wouldn't have looked twice at a few years ago.   With it I can chop, grate, slice, make fries as well as blend things together.  I can juice citrus fruits and grind coffee beans.   I can make quite decent pastry in it too but that does take a bit of practise.  I have excellent knives that take a lot less washing up........but it's difficult for me to use knives, so I have this food processor.

I also have a little whizzer, kind of a mini-chopper which I use for chopping a few squares of chocolate or a handful of nuts, even herbs.  Saves getting the big one out.  The stick blender, too, is useful for blending soups in the pan or rescuing lumpy sauces (sharp intake of breath "Surely not.....")

This is a Tefal Actifry.  Yes it is a bit big and an awkward shape (I think so anyway).  It was also expensive but - hey - in this game nothing comes cheap.  In this you can do a full kilo of chips (fries) using only 1 tablespoon (about 15ml I think) of whatever oil you like.  They come out beautifully crisp outside and fluffly inside.  In other words, it makes chips for fatties like me.  In fact you can put just about any veg you want in, mix them up.  It'll cook other things perfectly as well but.what am I,  an instruction book?

This does exactly what it says on the tin;  an electric carving knife.  You carve meat with it of course but, because it's fantastic for slicing bread too I can knock us a treat together with this...........

 My beloved Panasonic breadmaker, which I've had for years.  In fact it may well have been instrumental in selling our previous house 8 years ago.  You know.......the smell of fresh bread and coffee?  I don't use it every day;  we sometimes have shop bought bread.    I have never made just dough in it though because the 'beeps' alerting you that it's ready are so quiet I can't hear them even if I stand there and listen .   Same with the raisin option beeps.   The point is I couldn't use it at all without my electric knife.  I do have an electric slicing machine but as far as cleaning it is concerned it really is a step too far!  The big circular saw type blade will chop your hand off as soon as look at you.

 This electric can opener is fine but you do need to use 2 hands to it.  I think there may be something on the market now that is smaller and you only  need  one hand..  If so I'll get one - after all there's not much else you can do with  a can opener.

Last but not least, the Kenwood Chef food mixer, without which there would be never a cake to be found in this house!  Years ago, when we were first married, I was proud - and more than a little surprised - to find that I could turn out good cakes using just a mixing bowl, fork and tablespoon.  They were a real labour of love but they were the soundest basis  I know for learning how to do things and why you do them.  I've had this Chef more years than I can remember though and it's worth its weight in gold.....though I'm told it's old fashioned.  I don't care, it's lovely and worth every penny I paid for it.

So there you have it, just a few of the bits and pieces that seem to some like extravagances but are to me my lifelines.  There are loads of other things that keep the house clean and so on but I don't know of any gadget more reliable than Keith for putting the bins out!!


Jan said...

I wish Keith would put my bins out cos if I didnt leave a note Maurice would forget ,even then its no guarantee! I love the chip maker ,I should get one of those I think ,loved looking at all your other gadgets and hearing abit about each ,and yes I do agree the way ,disabled people are talked down too ,if you take the trouble to chat to them ,you might find they are more clever than you , and can be very interesting Jan xx

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I love your Keith gadget...sorry I don't have one of those here. Well you may be in a wheel chair but your are a very active lady. Now I'm finding that my age and silvery hair has people calling me sweetie and honey and such. I love all your gadgets and I must say that even though you call your food mixer old fashioned the one I have is even more so. It still does a wonderful job too. I love electric knives too. That fryer looks intriguing I don't have one of those. I have a bread machine that hasn't got much use, but I'm thinking that when I'm home this winter I'll be using it more and more. Isn't it grand how life has been made so much easier for us. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Keetha Denise Broyles said...

No one who has ever read even ONE LINE of your blog would ever doubt your intelligence!

We had a very close college friend who had been in a wheelchair since a trampoline accident during high school. We learned from him how painful and annoying the way strangers treated him because of his chair was. He HATED it when he met a new person and they were all awkward not knowing what to say or how to treat him.

He DID, from time to time, USE his chair to his, and our if we were with him, advantage. He was NOT above being taken to the front of any line, which was very helpful.

I remember once, we were waiting to get into a theater and someone bumped his foot. Now, having NO feeling below his waist, he wouldn't even have KNOWN except that he saw it. BUT, he hollered "OUCH" and they in chagrin and shame opened up a pathway through the crowd of people and we moved to the front of the line.

He was something else. We've rather lost touch with him now since he lives a thousand miles away or so - - -

StitchinByTheLake said...

Angie I have a very small kitchen and had to give up some of my gadgets when we moved into this house - there just isn't enough storage. But there are some I would (and do!) keep in my clothes closet because I love/need/want them. My big pressure canner is on the top shelf in my clothes closet! I don't use an electric can opener because the newer hand ones are just as easy. But that fryer sure looks interesting - just one tablespoon of oil? Wow! I don't fry any more because of the oil so maybe I better check it out. blessings, marlene

Marie said...

hmmm . . . yes, but . . .does he do windows . . . ummm . . . and dishes??? If so I'll take one of them! WAIT! I already got me one! Scratch that request. I would like a Kenwood Chef though. Had a Kitchen Aid up at the big house that I adored using. Whisked everything up in quick time! I know what you mean about people talking down to people who are disabled in any way. My Eileen gets it all the time. Love you loads! Love it whenever you write something. You're the best and so entertaining. TRULY! xxoo

Andy said...

There is one gadget that you have not mentioned--the automatic washing machine. I can remember my Mother having to do the washing by hand and than having to put it through the mangle, now you just pop it in-set the programme and it does it all for you--bliss!
On the subject of people with disabilities back in the 70's there was a programme on BBC Radio London on this very subject-the title says it all 'Does he take sugar?' Says it all really.

Sage said...

And I thought I was the queen of gadgets.
I saw that chip maker and was hoping it worked; I wondered what to get my husband for his birthday in 2 weeks...I know he would love this too.
I can't stand anyone who calls me honey or sweetheart; they are such .....
I know how you feel to be talked down to; I am not in a wheelchair but I am physically challenged in many ways with my arthritis.
We do the best we can with what we've got,right?
And I think you are the brightest gal I know in the UK.
Love and sending you a big Hug.

Sage said...

I forgot to ask do you cook your bread in the machine. I use mine all the time but bake the bread in the oven; I need a good recipe to cook in the machine.

Sybil said...

My pet hate is to be told how "sweet" I am !! I just grin and bare my teeth !!!
Loved all the gadgets. whatever would we do without them. I bought a tin opener the other day as I can't use the ordinary one now either, it is really quite small and it just sort of clips on the tin and away it goes round and round till it's finished only cost about £12 I think well worth it though it only likes round tins I discovered...I have never seen that chip maker, am going to look that one up.
love sybil

Grammy Staffy said...

It looks to me like you have a lovely kitchen full of great appliances. I wish that I had that telfal actifry. I have never heard of one and it sounds amazing. I love fried food but can't have it because of the calories. If I could fry using only 1 TBL of oil I would be in heaven. I must find out more about this machine.

How are you dear? Well I hope.Hugs to you and Keith.

Ann in the UP said...

Great post. I come from a whole family of limping, wheelchair bound highly intelligent people, so I'm familiar with your gripe about able bodied people not being able to relate.

Since the US passed legislation that requires that businesses be accessible to wheelchairs, we see many more independent wheelchair bound citizens.

My husband cooks at our house and he shares your enthusiasm for kitchen tools. But I've never seen anything like your fryer that works with a tablespoon of oil. That's awesome!!

(In the past when I cooked, I loved my blender, and my breadmaker.) I'm glad your appliances help you be creative and do what you love to do.

You're a grand writer, too.

Ben said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! As Linda Hunt said in the movie Silverado, “The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations." Or, as we say here in the colonies, "you go, girl!"


Ben said...

And, just so you know, I don't mind at all being called "darling" or "sweetheart." ;-)

Joan said...

Great gadgets and so glad they help you so much. I too like Jan love your chip maker really fef up with frozen chips. Hope uoun like your new ironing machine have seen them on the shopping chanels and they look very efficient. Take care Love Joan

Jasper said...

Good post Angie - sound logic, too.

It's the ol' "would she like a cup of tea?" thing, isn't it? Drives me nuts, personally.

When my mum had cancer for the first time, she wouldn't let us tell ANYONE - she just couldn't bear other people's pity.