Talking gadgets help Norfolk’s visually-impaired people to cook

Visually impaired people having cookery lessions - Ron Stokes makes a pudding in a mug with help from Sue Bird from the NNAB. Picture: Matthew Usher. Visually impaired people having cookery lessions - Ron Stokes makes a pudding in a mug with help from Sue Bird from the NNAB. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Thursday, April 3, 2014
10:34 AM

A group of visually impaired people are learning how to cook from scratch using talking gadgets.

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The Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) is running monthly classes at its West Norfolk Equipment Centre in King’s Lynn to teach people with poor sight how to prepare hot meals safely when they can longer use a conventional oven.

The sessions were the idea of centre co-ordinator Sue Bird, who said: “The message we were getting from the visually impaired people in West Norfolk was that they needed reassurance that they could still cook for themselves.

“There’s nothing like a sense of achievement of preparing your own meal from scratch. The microwave really comes into it’s own - a meal in minutes and minimal washing up at the end.”

After arriving, the six students were taught to prepare ingredients using equipment specially designed for the visually impaired. They learned to chop vegetables up using special safety knives and they also used a safety grater.

They used a talking timer to make cauliflower cheese and heat up some sausages in the microwave, while for dessert they used speaking scales to measure out the ingredients for a ginger pud.

One learner, Ron Stokes, 79, said he lost the sight in his right eye 22 years ago, followed by his left eye in 2011.

Mr Stokes, from Downham Market said: “Everything is almost black, but you learn to live with it. I can’t see the telly so I listen to the radio.

“I came here because although I live with my wife, if I was left by myself I would have to be able to cook. Although I am not that keen on using a microwave.”

Classmate, Garry Asker, 75, suffers from glaucoma and his sight is deteriorating.

He said: “With my sight, it’s like looking through a letterbox. I have picked up on a few things from here and apart from that it’s nice to meet other people who are in the same position. Sometimes you think you are the only one.”

The NNAB also provide large print recipes and students are also taught the importance of good lighting and brightly coloured tableware. For further information, call 01553 660808.

Have you overcome a disability to cook using special gadgets? E-mail natalie.copeland@archant.co.uk.

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