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Preparing Foods w/Arthritic Hands

threedogs Mar 22, 2011 07:45 AM

I have some physical limitations (alright, I'm getting OLD and I have arthritis in my hands..) so I'm careful in food preparation. Well, our local market had huge bags of string beans marked down to $1, and I couldn't resist buying a couple of bags.

I prepared one bag yesterday, and by the evening I couldn't even open my right (I'm a righty) hand. Sigh... still have another bag I don't want to go to waste.

So my question is - if any Chowhound has some good, handy items to help in the kitchen with physical limitations like this (especially w/chores like cutting), could you share it? I usually use scissors in the kitchen, even for cutting chicken breasts - I alternated between using my kitchen shears, cutting the ends off with a knife, and just using my hands like my mom used to do - but by the evening I couldn't even open my hands due to the pain.

Typing w/fingertips takes too long, so I'll wait to respond tomorrow, most likely, so I can rest my poor sore hand.

Thanks ahead of time!

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  1. NYCkaren RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2011 07:52 AM

    I'm sorry about your hand and I can sympathize. I don't have arthritis but my right hand is very stiff and clumsy because of M.S. I don't have any great advice but I wouldn't snap the ends off a whole bag of string beans by hand. Too time-consuming. I would line the beans up a few at a time and chop the ends off.

    3 Replies
    1. re: NYCkaren
      threedogs RE: NYCkaren Mar 24, 2011 11:46 AM

      I'm back. Actually, I've had a few days of bad pain all around, not just my hands, so I couldn't even read the replies until now. Too bad to see so many people suffer fr the same.

      I don't have M.S. - my heart goes out to you. I have both arthritis & fibromyalgia (which, my dr believes is in the autoimmune category. There are times I'm also clumsy, so I can sympathize, too. Tried lining the beans up, but that was time consuming, too - I'm tempted to just cook the rest as is!

      1. re: NYCkaren
        w
        wincountrygirl RE: NYCkaren Mar 24, 2011 11:52 AM

        That's what I do. I have arthritis in my hands but not as bad as the OP.

        1. re: NYCkaren
          LMAshton RE: NYCkaren Mar 22, 2014 03:55 AM

          I can't snap beans by hand, either. I have arthritis as well, in my case caused by hypermobile joints that dislocate extremely easily, which results in bone-on-bone action.

          I use a knife to chop off the ends. It's the only way it'll work for me.

        2. arashall RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2011 12:10 PM

          I have similar issues. Like you, I use scissors for lots of things. I also use lots of the OXO tools with the big, soft handles. And my big Victorinox chef's knife, because it's not a really heavy knife, and the handle is bigger and more comfortable to grip than many. I also line the beans up in batches for one chop.

          2 Replies
          1. re: arashall
            threedogs RE: arashall Mar 24, 2011 11:47 AM

            I have an OXO can opener that I now love. I say now because I didn't know how to use it for the longest time & it just sat in the drawer, unused. (Me? Read directions? Ha!) One day, when I couldn't find my other one, I suddenly realized one is supposed to use the little tip on the side to take the top of the can off - and voila! It's my favorite now. I'm going to look into other kitchen items now that the arthritis has gotten worse for me.

            I also need a decent size cutting board (Ikea has one I like), and a decent sized chef's knife (I have a gi-normous one I can't even use!) I forget the brand, but it's the standard, restaurant variety that I got at a restaurant supply store awhile ago - only got the wrong size. I'm thinking it might be Victorinox also, but I'm not sure.

            Obviously, I don't have the best kitchen equipment - had the teeniest kitchen before so I didn't bother, but I moved to a decent apt recently & I have room to store my stuff now. :D

            1. re: threedogs
              c oliver RE: threedogs Apr 2, 2011 07:36 AM

              The video here helped me alot, specifically the pinch technique. I've got the knife doing more of the work for my weak hand. Give it a try and good luck.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6039...

          2. s
            smartie RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2011 03:13 PM

            I'm another with arthritic hands, I de-stemmed a whole load of strawberries saturday night and made jam and was sorry afterwards although the jam was terrific.
            I have problems opening cans unless the can opener has a large twisty area so I can get a good grip. I tap jars hard before opening to release the vacuum and also use scissors on stiff plastic packaging because I can't peal the tabs back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: smartie
              threedogs RE: smartie Mar 24, 2011 11:50 AM

              I think those of us with hand-pain live on the idea that the results of our kitchen actions need to equal or exceed our pain in preparing them! I'd say that fresh strawberry jam DEF fits that category!! Mmm.. I bet even the aroma made it worthwhile! (hope you've recovered by now)

              For opening jars I use one of those little flexable, pebbly, plastic gripper jar opener (mine is round). I've had sort of a collection (always was free fr various places) that I never needed to use until recently. That seems to work most of the time. For plastic packaging, I also usually end up cutting the bag (along w/adding a few colorful words towards the manufacturers, haha). My worse beef is when my adult son KEEPS on tying plastic bags w/out a twisty tie (so I end up having to cut the bag), or if he DOES use the twisty, he'll tie it so tight I still have to cut the bag. Arrggh!!

            2. c
              critter101 RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2011 05:09 PM

              My arthritis isn't that bad, but I do keep a small pair of needle nose pliers in a kitchen drawer. Those foil tops on pills, and packaging are really hard to pull off. It works well to pull small bones from fish fillets, too. Also, a frend showed me a way to open vacuum packed glass jars...tap the lid well, and then insert the tip of a butter knife between the lid and jar. Twist the blade of the knife, and it will often break the suction, making the jar easier to open.

              5 Replies
              1. re: critter101
                threedogs RE: critter101 Mar 24, 2011 11:51 AM

                LOVE the idea of the needle nose pliers - I'm going to get one just for the kitchen drawer (btw, my moniker is due to the three dogs in our household - until my oldest passed last fall :( , now in honor of him along w/my two other sweeties. I hope you don't actually *have* 101 critters in your household, lol!)

                1. re: threedogs
                  toodie jane RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 06:01 PM

                  ditto--mine have the teeth on the inner edges so they reallllly grip well. Great for those tabs on foil-sealed bottles and jars and pill bottles. Even on milk jugs when the plastic tab breaks off , leaving nothing to pull.

                  Great tip, critter101 about the BUTTER knife. Do not use a good paring knife, like someone who's name...I won't mention.

                  1. re: toodie jane
                    j
                    Jeri L RE: toodie jane Mar 24, 2011 07:58 PM

                    Jane! Who told you I did that?!

                    1. re: Jeri L
                      toodie jane RE: Jeri L Mar 30, 2011 12:57 PM

                      the same person who used mine....:-)

                2. re: critter101
                  MplsM ary RE: critter101 Mar 22, 2014 08:42 PM

                  Even better is a needle nose(ish) Vice Grip:
                  http://www.amazon.com/Irwin-15-9LN-8-...

                  Not good for fish bones, but instead of needing to apply the gripping power yourself, you turn a screw and clamp it to whatever needs pulling or extracting.

                  I use both pliers and vice grips.

                3. I used to know how to cook... RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2011 06:34 PM

                  Hi all,

                  Gosh, threedogs, I sure do hear you! I have one pretty darn dismal hand. It's my left and I'm a lefty. Of course... :)

                  A couple of tips...

                  Don't do anything requiring heavy use of your hands until you've been up for a while and they are 'warmed up' and supple.

                  Pace your work. For example, with the beans, prep a small amount at a time. Give your hands a break between sessions.

                  And, as another poster commented, the OXO utensils with large soft grips are a blessing. Those and (if you can find one...) an old-style Swing-A-Way can opener. The whole thing is longer and the turning handle is bigger. More leverage.

                  Speaking of knives, I use my 6" Calphalon chef's knife instead of the longer ones. Lighter in weight and the handle seems to be better for me. It wasn't expensive. As I recall, it was less than $15 at Tuesday Morning.

                  Lucy

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                    threedogs RE: I used to know how to cook... Mar 24, 2011 11:52 AM

                    I can hardly open my hands first thing in the morning (that's the time of day when I actually FEEL my age, lol). I stumble around a bit until I can move better. Somehow, the fact that I have to take my dogs out first thing has, I think, been good for me. My natural inclination is to get a cup of coffee and that would be it! Pacing my work - ah, wise words & I did try that w/the beans. Except I ended up doing half of what I bought - which was a LOT. Pacing is something new for me, haha. I'm doing much better - for most things...

                    I'm due to get some decent knives. What I have isn't great, and I chose the wrong size when I bought them (also have some really crappy knives that I've been using instead, because they are a better size. Go figure..)

                    Ah, Tuesday Morning! :( They've closed the ones around me. Still have T.J. Maxx, Marshalls - and sometimes my fav New England store, The Christmas Tree Shop has some great kitchen items. I probably could buy them online, but I really prefer to at least first try them in my hands first.

                    I was searching awhile ago & found a knife brand made just for people w/hand pain. But the price was way beyond what I can afford (forgot the name, of course).

                  2. s
                    sccrash RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2011 08:02 PM

                    Arthritis must have come in on one of God's "off" creative days..... It's the only thing that gives me any doubt a bout her gender:)

                    You might already do this, (however, I know some don't by the way my mother pitches a fit when I do...) but if you're taking off the pointed end of the beans, skip it. It's as edible as the rest of the beans, and they look prettier with curly ends.

                    It helps my thumb joints a lot to wear a brace that holds the joint relatively immobile. The orthopods molded a thermal plastic one that fits exactly. All I know how to do for fingers is to quietly practice my best cuss words and keep moving as long as I can.

                    Start hinting to Santa now for a voice recognition program next Christmas to free you from at least some typing- those programs are improving all the time.

                    Hang in there- I know it's so maddening when it seems impossible to sign your name or open a jar...

                    As my Dad (80 years old, four hips, two knees, and one shoulder replaced) says: "This golden age stuff just ain't what it's cracked up to be."

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sccrash
                      threedogs RE: sccrash Mar 24, 2011 12:05 PM

                      "Arthritis must have come in on one of God's "off" creative days..... It's the only thing that gives me any doubt a bout her gender:)"

                      Hahaha - I have to agree!

                      Well, I've been buying the type of fresh beans (in the past) that you don't have to take any tips off of - either at Costco, or Trader Joes, or similar (young beans, mostly). But I moved to a new place a few months ago, & we have this fantastic fruit & veggie store near us with a discount rack that's something out of my dreams. (I'm a die-hard bargain shopper stemming from need, now need+love of bargains, ha), and can't pass up bags of stuff for $1!

                      I have a Mac - and it comes w/voice recognition. Have never used it because I actually prefer typing to talking! The young me who despised those typing classes back in the day wouldn't believe it. :D Fortunately, I had no choice but to learn touch-typing, and I love it. Most days it doesn't bother me - I think setting up the keyboard in a more ergonomic way would help, along w/getting a better mouse. I still have a trackball (two actually) that doesn't work, but I read is coveted by many because it was designed so well. I'm hoping to figure where I can get whatever I need to get it to work! It was perfect - don't know why they had to stop making them! (I have it buried in w/my stuff, so I can't tell you what the name is.)

                      My heart goes out to your Dad - I agree! I am in the process right now (encouraged by my kids who want me around a long time) of changing my diet & *trying* to exercise more - I managed to fall quite a few times & injured my knees, & one is flared up right now.

                      Wow, I sound like a basket case!

                      1. re: threedogs
                        s
                        sadie ml RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 05:59 PM

                        This might be the kind of mouse you're talking about. I use the Logitech TrackMan Wheel with my mac and I won't own any other kind of mouse-always loved these things. Now that my hands have just recently become a little arthritic, I extra love it. I just rest my hand on it and barely have to move my thumb for full cursor motions.

                        http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...

                        1. re: sadie ml
                          threedogs RE: sadie ml Mar 24, 2011 06:12 PM

                          Yep, that's it - mine's cordless, though. I think it's the receiver that I'm missing (for both of them). Neither will work with my now-more-recent Mac. I did lots of research awhile ago to see if I could buy (whatever I'm missing), but couldn't solve my dilemma, and gave up.

                          I still have both, though - hoping... still! Man, some of those prices! One person has theirs listed for $222!

                        2. re: threedogs
                          l
                          luvsummer RE: threedogs Mar 26, 2011 03:31 PM

                          We've also lately become a big fan of those pre-prepped green beans, either from BJ's or Trader Joe's. They're trimmed, washed, all we have to do is dump them in a pan. Baby spinach comes that way too, and some of it you can even microwave in the pan. It's more expensive, but the grocery stores have more and more in the way of cut-up fruits and veggies. If it means a night free of pain, it's worth the upcharge. If you already belong to Costco, check out their other options. We go to BJ's and buy trimmed broccoli florets, big bags of mixed lettuce spring mix, the green beans; I'm sure Costco has similar offerings. Trader Joe often has such things but in sizes more practical for smaller households. Think of it as healthy fast food.

                          My mother had bad arthritis in her hands, and I suspect it's in my future as well. She often wore gloves around the house since keeping her hands warm really helped. Cold really affected her; she watched me pull the giblets out of a still partially frozen turkey once and really squirmed imagining that cold. Make sure you let the tap water run long enough to get warm before you wash your hands or the dishes.

                          I worked with a woman who found that wearing sturdy rubber gloves seemed to give her hands more strength, especially when doing things like vacuuming. I'm not sure why, but she swore by it. Worth a try!

                      2. BobB RE: threedogs Mar 23, 2011 01:44 PM

                        For cutting lots of that sort of thing, what about cleaning up an office paper cutter - one of these types with a flat platform and a hinged, sword-like blade at the edge?

                         
                        4 Replies
                        1. re: BobB
                          threedogs RE: BobB Mar 24, 2011 12:13 PM

                          Yikes, Bob - it's basically a good idea. Only problem is my clumsy tendencies. I'd be afraid I'd cut my fingers off. Seriously - my right hand has about six or seven scars that I can see from oven burns alone. Before it all healed (well, except for the one I got this morning), it looked dreadful (I was baking a lot - and burned myself in accordance with the amt I baked). I think if I ever brought one of those home (they *do* make new ones just for paper crafts - was looking at them for some crafty things I want to do, but held off for that reason, lol), my kids would have a fit.

                          On the other hand, it's nice to have the tables turned, now - having *them* worry about *me* for a change, haha. ;-)

                          Seriously, though, the ones in the craft stores don't look so - scary - so that might work. They aren't that expensive (esp. when a place like Michael's has their 50% off coupon). It might work.

                          1. re: BobB
                            l
                            luvsummer RE: BobB Mar 26, 2011 03:12 PM

                            One of my cousins invented and trued, unsuccessfully, to market a similar gadget. It was a smallish cutting board, maybe 8 x 11, and a companion serrated knife with a slot near the tip that fit into a pin in the cutting board, holding the tip of the knife in place. The whole thing did operate similar to an office paper slicer, but you could take it apart easily for washing.

                            It was a great idea, but to keep it at an infomercial price point the quality just wasn't there. I use it a couple of times a year for scoring an "X"into chestnuts, it's perfect for that. And I suppose it might be useful for those with hand problems. It would be nice if it was made of better quality materials.

                            The cousin has a lot of them still in the garage, I can ask him if he'd consider selling them on eBay or something if people here think there'd be interest.

                            1. re: luvsummer
                              toodie jane RE: luvsummer Mar 30, 2011 01:01 PM

                              for tipping beans, how about a good pizza wheel?

                              1. re: toodie jane
                                I used to know how to cook... RE: toodie jane Mar 30, 2011 01:13 PM

                                That's a great idea!

                                Lucy

                          2. j
                            jvanderh RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 01:26 PM

                            I am sorry to hear about your hand pain. I don't have much experience, but this thing looks cool: http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-French-B... probably won't help you in time unless you can get free prime shipping. Got any aspiring chefs in the neighborhood who would chop for you in exchange for learning at your feet?

                            1. m
                              magnolia RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 03:52 PM

                              Boy, can I relate! My best kitchen tools are scissors, pliers, and sharp knives. I have a couple of jar-opening gadgets and some OXO things. (Strong son-in-law helps, too, sometimes.) When I find very fresh green beans, I sit in a comfortable chair on the porch and take my time trimming and snapping by hand. The meditation time does wonders. Other than that, I watch the weather reports.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: magnolia
                                threedogs RE: magnolia Mar 24, 2011 03:58 PM

                                Who needs weather reports? My body is my own, personal weather report!

                              2. g
                                gimlis1mum RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 05:31 PM

                                Many years ago, when I had some overuse injuries my OT recommended that I try using kitchen knives like this (I found this picture on Google, I have never purchased from this particular vendor):

                                http://www.ergosource.com/ergonomic-s...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: gimlis1mum
                                  Windy RE: gimlis1mum Mar 24, 2011 05:46 PM

                                  Those knives are wild looking!

                                  I've also suffered from work-related hand and shoulder injuries. During a flare up, cooking prep was unthinkable.

                                  There are a few things that help, which might also apply to arthritic hands: as noted, lighter knives are good. Anything that doesn't require gripping too tightly. Many utensils were designed by men with big hands. Get a smaller knive, and keep it sharpened.

                                  Another is height. I realized recently that my main cutting surface is too high for me, for more than a few minutes at a stretch.

                                  Slowing down and taking breaks is good. Think about lessening effort, especially while chopping. Use a food processor or mini-chopping device.

                                  I am also sensitive to temperature, and my extremities run cold. Keeping your forearms warm by wearing long sleeves helps, as may wearing gloves.

                                  Warm up your kitchen, whether it's washing vegetables in warmer water or cooking potatoes in an oven nearby, while you chop.

                                2. I used to know how to cook... RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 05:52 PM

                                  Dawned on me today I need to get an electric citrus juicer. Using a hand reamer is a real hand-killer.

                                  Went to BedBath, they didn't have any, neither did Kohl's. Guess it's off to Amazon for me!!

                                  Lucy

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                    toodie jane RE: I used to know how to cook... Mar 24, 2011 06:18 PM

                                    don't waster your time on the small electric reamers, you still have to bear down in an awkward way. They have no hp. If you can, find one with a powerful motor, or get an attatchment to your stand mixer, if you have one. If you don't put it on your Santa list, and make room for it on the counter where you don't have to move it.

                                    1. re: toodie jane
                                      I used to know how to cook... RE: toodie jane Mar 24, 2011 06:37 PM

                                      Hi Toodie Jane,

                                      Do you have any specific recommendations?

                                      I do have a stand mixer - a vintage Kitchenaid Model 3-C. I believe a juicer attachment does exist for it but then I'd have to lug it out of the china cabinet every time I wanted to use it! :)

                                      My hand issues, I'm quite sure, go way back to when I would arrive at work, cold hands and all, in the winter, and have to start taking dictation right away. To get it done before my boss had to be in court...

                                      Lucy

                                      Edited to add: P.S. It's cold and blowing like crazy here in SLO. How's it where you are?

                                      1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                        threedogs RE: I used to know how to cook... Mar 24, 2011 07:05 PM

                                        I'm in the Boston area - it's been cold, cold, cold most of this week. Had a few good days (last wk, I think) then it got cold again. Even snowed a bit today (didn't last - whew!)

                                        Where is SLO?

                                        1. re: threedogs
                                          I used to know how to cook... RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 07:28 PM

                                          Hi Threedogs,

                                          SLO is 'shorthand' for San Luis Obispo, California.

                                          I believe Toodie Jane is in this area also.

                                          Lucy

                                          1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                            threedogs RE: I used to know how to cook... Mar 25, 2011 07:18 AM

                                            I'm so jealous! Never have been there, but I hear it's beautiful. :D

                                        2. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                          toodie jane RE: I used to know how to cook... Mar 30, 2011 01:05 PM

                                          no, I don't have a recommendation for a rotary type. How about a lever press?

                                          It's sure nice today! Balmy is the word.

                                          1. re: toodie jane
                                            I used to know how to cook... RE: toodie jane Mar 30, 2011 01:12 PM

                                            Lever press... Hmm... Haven't seen or thought about those in ages. I think I used to have one and as I recall it worked very well. Sure is worth a look.

                                            Yup - just gorgeous! 79 here right now.

                                            Lucy

                                            1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                              toodie jane RE: I used to know how to cook... Mar 31, 2011 08:39 PM

                                              heres' one...

                                              http://www.amazon.com/Metrokane-1009-...

                                            2. re: toodie jane
                                              c
                                              carol1945 RE: toodie jane Mar 30, 2014 06:15 AM

                                              I have a lever press from 40 years ago. It is fantastic fir squeezing lemons and oranges. See if you can find one.

                                              1. re: toodie jane
                                                c oliver RE: toodie jane Mar 30, 2014 08:41 AM

                                                http://www.cyberattic.com/stores/1hbk...

                                                I have this of my mother's. Much easier on the hands.

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  c
                                                  carol1945 RE: c oliver Mar 30, 2014 09:44 AM

                                                  Yes, this exactly like the one I have. I do not know if they are still for sale. I am figuring out that the lever is the best type of tool for my hands to handle.

                                                  1. re: carol1945
                                                    c oliver RE: carol1945 Mar 30, 2014 10:25 AM

                                                    I also have one of these glass ones.

                                                    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/37092369...

                                                    For me, either of these is better than the wood reamer.

                                        3. toodie jane RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 06:15 PM

                                          hello, fellow friends of Arthur Itis. My index fingers are starting to 'go' on both hands. I got my doc to write a Rx for Aqua Therapy sessions at a local phys Therapy office that has a small (capacity 6) indoor pool.

                                          The ceritifed (by Arthritis Foundation) instructors lead us though a series of warm ups to get our arms, legs, feet and our hands limbered up. One is sort of slowly fluttering your fingers, like slowly and gently moving up and down a piano scale. I have found this especially helpful in the evening or before doing any kind of knife work in the kitchen. As with anything else lately (helllooo, "10 minute gardening") we "friends of Arthur I." need to be sure we're warmed up, especially if we've been sitting or otherwise still. No more dashing about, throwing ourselves into kitchen tasks in a whirlwind.

                                          "Keep Calm, and Carry On" has become my motto.

                                          1. r
                                            RGC1982 RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 06:27 PM

                                            I have some osteoarthritis in my hands, although it does not sound as progressed as what you are describing, so I do understand your dilemma. I keep my hands out of cold things, and use my Kitchen Aid mixer, for example, to mix meatloaf or meatballs because I don't want to put my hands in cold meat.

                                            Did you use kitchen shears to cut the beans? That motion is a lot tougher on my hands and knuckles than holding a knife and slicing a row of beans to trim them. Are you able to use a knife, or is it just your preference to use shears? If you can manage even a decent knife, lining them up as NYCKaren suggests, and just easily slicing the ends off is much, much easier than snapping a million of them by hand, or shearing them.

                                            14 Replies
                                            1. re: RGC1982
                                              threedogs RE: RGC1982 Mar 24, 2011 07:03 PM

                                              Yes, I usually use shears. This was a much larger amt - seems that this year my hands are hurting more. Could be because this has been the first winter the heat wasn't included w/our rent - so we've had to keep it on low, as low as we can stand it. I find 64 degrees (F) has been the lowest I can take (don't know how accurate this is here). When we tried 62, that's when I'm freezing despite the several layers of clothing!

                                              I did line some up to use w/a knife, but both my knife & my cutting board stink, so that didn't help much. (I have 2 very small cutting boards, after leaving some behind in a move a couple of yrs ago - my last apt had a kitchen so small I didn't bother getting any decent sized ones).

                                              I plan to replace both (board & knives) soon.

                                              1. re: threedogs
                                                greygarious RE: threedogs Mar 25, 2014 05:42 PM

                                                Wash the styrofoam trays that the supermarket packs your meat and produce on. They are then good as single-use cutting boards.

                                                1. re: threedogs
                                                  c oliver RE: threedogs Mar 25, 2014 06:01 PM

                                                  OT but I always have to chuckle at home temps. We turn our heat UP to 60 when we get up in the morning. Down to 50 at night. To be food-related, I say that we could hang meat in our house :)

                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                    threedogs RE: c oliver Mar 28, 2014 01:00 PM

                                                    I'm fortunate now that our heat is including in this apt., and we adjust it ourselves. Plus, this is a smaller place to heat - anyway, my pain is worse in the cold - our last place had oil heat & we had to keep about as low as you describe, c oliver - wow, I suffered! Now I'm dreaming the warm weather, ocean & palm trees I experienced on my very recent vacation... fresh food selections were VERY limited in the grocery store there, and I don't want to drive, so I don't think I'll be relocating permanently there.

                                                    I have been considering a move *if* it meant my pain would decrease and I'd be physically able do more of the things I love...

                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                      LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 28, 2014 05:22 PM

                                                      Whereas our room temperature is around 30-35C (86-95F) in rooms that aren't air conditioned... In some places we've lived, anyway. Where we are now, it's generally around 30C.

                                                      1. re: LMAshton
                                                        c oliver RE: LMAshton Mar 28, 2014 05:32 PM

                                                        And I would die of heat prostration :) We bought an apartment in Rio a few years ago. EVERYBODY guffawed when I said I WOULD have an AC in the kitchen!!! I guess the Brazilian "little woman" would just go back there and sweat herself to death. But her hands might feel better :)

                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                          LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 28, 2014 07:14 PM

                                                          Oh, trust me, I want an AC in my kitchen. I just haven't got it yet.

                                                          The locals are used to the heat. They don't sweat. My Sri Lankan mother in law has *never* broken a sweat in the kitchen. Me? I drip. Visibly. My mother in law tells me to go sit down because I look exhausted. Which I do, under a fan.

                                                          Our apartment in Malaysia is cooler - we have a lovely breeze that goes through it - so I don't sweat as much here. And my mother in law still looks as cool as a cucumber.

                                                          1. re: LMAshton
                                                            c oliver RE: LMAshton Mar 28, 2014 10:07 PM

                                                            I just booked an almost month long trip to SE Asia next year. I'm seriously considering hypnosis therapy to help me with the heat/humidity.

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              threedogs RE: c oliver Mar 29, 2014 09:47 AM

                                                              Do it, c oliver!! Do anything that will make your trip more enjoyable - and please post photos & share with us after. I would SO love to sneak in your luggage, hahaha!

                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 29, 2014 06:12 PM

                                                                By the way, B2 has helped me with temperature regulation. Long story short, I'm regularly overheated and suffered heat stroke even in the northern parts of Alberta, Canada when it was only 25C. B2 has helped me quite a bit. :)

                                                                1. re: LMAshton
                                                                  c oliver RE: LMAshton Mar 29, 2014 06:17 PM

                                                                  What is B2 please?

                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                    LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 29, 2014 06:31 PM

                                                                    Vitamin B2.

                                                              2. re: LMAshton
                                                                threedogs RE: LMAshton Mar 29, 2014 09:46 AM

                                                                Oh, I would love to visit Malaysia! I could never travel there, though (besides the expense) with my current health problems. The humidity would kill me, too (extremes are too much for me)... at least I have the internet to travel virtually!!

                                                                I hope you get that air conditioner for your kitchen - I'd be dripping sweat, too! Heck, I do that where I am already (no windows in our kitchen, air circulation in this one isn't the best at times)!

                                                                1. re: threedogs
                                                                  LMAshton RE: threedogs Mar 29, 2014 06:16 PM

                                                                  The heat where we live in Johor Bahru is not that bad. Walking around at street level, hot. In our apartment, mostly cool. We have a tremendous breeze that blows through - we're on a hill and the way the building was designed, there's massive air flow. It's sometimes so cool that I have to wear a scarf over my ears or bundle up in a blanket. My kitchen is mostly cool enough, too. But this last week has been hotter than normal. Seasonal temperatures, possibly, or it could be something in my diet - I react to certain foods by overheating (beef, pineapple, mangos...)

                                                    2. Chemicalkinetics RE: threedogs Mar 24, 2011 08:39 PM

                                                      The Threedogs,

                                                      Obviously, a food processor will help reduce the amount of work. On the other hand, a food processor can only do so much. I am going to suggest you look into Dexter-Russell Duo-Glide knives. Pretty silly name, I know. Looking at the design, these knives shift the applied force closer to the center of the knife which favors power over speed. Therefore, these knives will be benefitical for people with limited power or arthritis. Obviously, it really depends your arthritis situation (not all arthritis are alike).

                                                      http://www.dexterduoglide.com/new_way...

                                                      As you can see, the DuoGlide series has won the 2010 Houseware design award and has been recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. Here is the Arthritis Foundation website.

                                                      http://www.arthritis.org/ease-of-use-...

                                                      Here are some videos which may be helpful to you:

                                                      http://www.dexterduoglide.com/video/d...

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                        threedogs RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 25, 2011 07:25 AM

                                                        That's the one I saw online awhile ago. It looks great - can't afford anything right now, but going to keep it in mind. Just noticed the utility knife (the link you gave for the arthritis foundation calls it a mini-chef's knife). That might be just what I need, at least at first!

                                                        My food processor broke on me - the plastic part. Guess I killed it fr overuse - so I'm keeping my eye out for another.

                                                        Thanks for the links!

                                                        Thanks

                                                        1. re: threedogs
                                                          Chemicalkinetics RE: threedogs Mar 25, 2011 07:34 AM

                                                          Dexter-Russell knives prices can vary from store to store. Katom's price is not too bad, so you can start here. There may be better prices elsewhere:

                                                          http://restaurant-supplies.katom.com/...

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                            threedogs RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 25, 2011 08:04 AM

                                                            Their prices are good, but the shipping adds a lot. I'm going to call places around here first to see if anyone carries it.

                                                            1. re: threedogs
                                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: threedogs Mar 25, 2011 08:42 AM

                                                              :) I know (the shipping fee). When I bought my knives from Katom, I purchased a few knife to make the purchase worthwhile. If you have a restaurant supply store around, you can call them and ask if they carry Dexter-Russell knives. Many do. If they do, then ask them if they can purchase the DuoGlide for you for their next purchase, so you can pick it up. (I don't expect stores to stock DuoGlide).

                                                              Good luck.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                threedogs RE: Chemicalkinetics Mar 25, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                                Hey, that's a great idea! Yes, there are a few restaurant supply stores in my area, one is close but I've never visited. All that I've gone to in the past carry Dexter-Russell - in fact, I'm sure that's the brand I bought a few years ago.

                                                                I'm going to do that - has to wait about a month or so - but I'll post here whenever (however) I get it.

                                                                Thanks!

                                                      2. p
                                                        pine time RE: threedogs Apr 1, 2011 12:40 PM

                                                        I've worked with seniors in the medical field for years, and now I'm using my own resources, cause I've gotten old! For all kinds of kitchen (or other household items), try googling "adaptive equipment" Here's just one example for kitchen stuff:
                                                        http://www.seniorssuperstores.com/car...

                                                        One other idea--ask for doc for a occupational therapist eval -- they're experts on these kinds of resources and other energy-conservation ways to keep you cookin' even with arthritis. Best wishes--

                                                        1. c
                                                          carol1945 RE: threedogs Mar 20, 2014 07:40 AM

                                                          I see this post is 2011. If three dogs is still reading Chowhound, how are your hands now, in 2014? I really know what you are talking about. I retired, and now have time for my favorite hobbies, cooking and gardening. But.......my hands won't cooperate. I have researched and researched and found that the joint at the base of the thumb is the one really gives out, like the knee, just from using it over and over through the years. I am now switching over to all these adaptive devices, but the best thing for me so far is to wear a splint that takes the pressure off the joint. Especially at night. Also I am trying to change old habits like instead of grasping a plate the usual way, I need to put my whole hand underneath it. I wonder if others are having problems cooking with arthritic hands and I would love to hear more. The statistic I found was that 3 out of 4 women over 70 have arthritis in their hands.

                                                          16 Replies
                                                          1. re: carol1945
                                                            c oliver RE: carol1945 Mar 20, 2014 08:15 AM

                                                            I've enjoyed rereading this old thread. I just got a presumptive diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis so will be making lots of changes in the kitchen. I've already found to just go ahead and use both hands when moving things around. Who cares if you'll always just used one? And definitely take breaks. We had a couple of friends over the other night and, although it was a simple meal, I did all the prep over about eight hours (we're retired), taking breaks where I would get off my feet and total relax for a bit. When they arrived I was in good enough shape to enjoy them :) I'm looking forward to any and all tips. We will NOT be defeated!!!

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              k
                                                              knifesavers RE: c oliver Mar 20, 2014 09:49 AM

                                                              Yep old thread but touching on one item the Dexter Duo Glide. I actually have one, the 8" chef, and for all it's odd looks, it works. I can cut gripping it using just 2 fingers and no thumb.

                                                              I can cut circles around it with my regular chefs and a good grip but can cut with the Duo Glide with compromised grips, no thumb, fewer fingers, etc. where a conventional one will not work.

                                                              Jim

                                                              1. re: knifesavers
                                                                c
                                                                carol1945 RE: knifesavers Mar 23, 2014 07:42 AM

                                                                I was trying to decide if I should get the Duo Glide. Is it hard to get used to? It looks so odd.

                                                                1. re: carol1945
                                                                  k
                                                                  knifesavers RE: carol1945 Mar 25, 2014 06:21 AM

                                                                  Well it is an odd shape and a strange feel over a regular chef but once you start to use it it makes sense. You just grab it and drop your hand to cut. You don't apply much if any downward force.

                                                                  If you have a Chinese cleaver grab it on the spine about halfway up, angle it about 45 degrees to the food and see how the weight of your hand becomes the force needed to push the blade though the food.

                                                                  I still use all my standard blades but in the event of injury I could use the DuoGlide to prep with limitations that would prohibit me from using a standard blade.

                                                                  Jim

                                                              2. re: c oliver
                                                                LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 22, 2014 04:06 AM

                                                                I have to take breaks a lot. What used to take me an hour of solid work in the kitchen now takes me three. I don't move as fast, I get overheated easily, I don't have as much strength or stamina, I'm not as accurate with a knife any more, my eyes are going, and I have to take breaks, sometimes frequently. Understanding the concept of pacing is so important.

                                                                1. re: LMAshton
                                                                  c
                                                                  carol1945 RE: LMAshton Mar 23, 2014 07:41 AM

                                                                  I just feel better to know we are all in the same boat. I used to be able to whip up entire Christmas dinners in a day, making six or seven dishes from soup to dessert. Those days are over, I see.

                                                                  1. re: carol1945
                                                                    LMAshton RE: carol1945 Mar 23, 2014 07:07 PM

                                                                    They sure are for me. The husband refuses to "allow" me to cook big meals like that. He'll order out instead, and who cares what other people think. He'll give them gruff if they complain. :) He also tells his mother, who also has arthritis and, let's be honest, is getting old, to order out for big family events. She mostly tries to cook it all herself, but she can't really handle it any more, either. So he keeps telling her to order out, and sometimes she does, but considering how entirely stubborn the entire family is, this is a win.

                                                                    1. re: LMAshton
                                                                      c oliver RE: LMAshton Mar 23, 2014 07:10 PM

                                                                      I'll usually fight to the death over that "allow" word :) but YAY!!!

                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                        LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 23, 2014 07:15 PM

                                                                        LOL! That's why I put it in quotes. :D But he will get mad at me if I try to do too much, which, honestly, has helped me learn to say no a lot more and stop doing things that make me worse or cause me more pain. He's quite reasonable in protecting me, if that makes sense. :) He has quite a balanced view on the whole thing, honestly. He's been dressing me and helping me with a LOT of stuff (more than usual, I mean) for at least three months - I have two severely injured shoulders - so he also pays for my pain and injuries in a way.

                                                                        1. re: LMAshton
                                                                          c oliver RE: LMAshton Mar 23, 2014 07:18 PM

                                                                          I have to do a bit more asking but then I get 100% support. Like those take out burritos upthread :)

                                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                                            LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 23, 2014 07:20 PM

                                                                            I hear you.

                                                                            It took a while for the husband to really understand that I was always in pain, but now that he gets it...

                                                                2. re: c oliver
                                                                  Candy RE: c oliver Mar 25, 2014 12:11 PM

                                                                  CO I've some how lost your e-mail address. I too have RA in my right hand. I thought it might be carpal. Any he gave me a brace and it does help. It might be a bit clumsy while cooking, but it can make a lot of things easier.

                                                                  1. re: Candy
                                                                    c oliver RE: Candy Mar 25, 2014 02:01 PM

                                                                    In my profile, Candy. You're a lucky one. Both knees, both hands, elbows, shoulders and now starting in my neck :( I think Bob may be increasing his skills :) Or picking up a lot of takeout!

                                                                3. re: carol1945
                                                                  LMAshton RE: carol1945 Mar 22, 2014 04:04 AM

                                                                  I'm 46. I've had problems with my hands for years. But then, I have hypermobile joints that dislocate easily, which means bone-on-bone action along with damaged ligaments, tendons, and so on.

                                                                  My husband works from home, so I get him to do a lot of stuff that I just can't do any more.

                                                                  Otherwise, yep, lots of adapting. I currently have severely injured shoulders, right one worse, so I do more stuff with my left hand (I'm right handed) than I used to. I have to adjust my movements, like not trying to turn on light switches while I'm still walking. I have to lift and carry things differently. No sudden movements at all. Not much range of motion, either.

                                                                  1. re: carol1945
                                                                    Candy RE: carol1945 Mar 25, 2014 12:13 PM

                                                                    Count me in. Retired and the RA in my right thumb.

                                                                    1. re: carol1945
                                                                      threedogs RE: carol1945 Mar 28, 2014 01:14 PM

                                                                      Just started reading all the replies, carol1945!! Forgot I posted this, and well, life got in the way.

                                                                      My hands are actually better - I think what may have helped is that I moved from an apt. where heat wasn't included - oil heat (hate it!), and had to keep the temp really low. Now the heat is included & winter isn't freezing *in* the apt. anymore. The rest of me is in more pain, though - I have fibromyalgia and I can never tell where or what is going to hurt on me. Been very discouraged at times, but I keep going.

                                                                      One of the things that I've been considering is moving to a climate that would be better for me - but at (almost) 61, and with a little one and a half year old granddaughter somewhat nearby, I am hesitant. Hard to make a move like this (I made a very unsuccessful move to AZ yrs ago - pain was better but was too far from family & I couldn't adjust to the desert), and deciding where would be right for me.

                                                                      Since I've had fibro for quite awhile, and also arthritis, I am really good at adjusting my lifestyle. Besides the physical aspect, I have memory problems at times too - so I'm also write a lot of notes & lists.

                                                                      Which is really helpful, except when I forget them...

                                                                    2. c
                                                                      carol1945 RE: threedogs Mar 20, 2014 01:36 PM

                                                                      I am so glad people are writing about this issue. It is very difficult to change all the habits of a 60-70 year lifetime, from how you hold a plate to how you open a can. My mom is 96, and so figure I have another 20 years and I want to be able to still cook!!! So, right now, my project is finding tools that won't be hard on my thumb joints and learning how to protect my joints so they will work for another 20 years. I see that there are scissors that are easier to work with as well. I don't know if I replied in the right place.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: carol1945
                                                                        threedogs RE: carol1945 Mar 22, 2014 07:43 AM

                                                                        I love that there are so many suggestions here (and yes, your reply is fine!) Since I started this conversation, I have adapted a bit for string/green beans - I only buy the young ones that don't need trimming! It is just too difficult and not worth the pain. For me, scissors hurt, too!

                                                                        I've had fibromyalgia for awhile, so I have learned to adapt in just about everything. Bread, I've been making since my teen years, but since I don't have a machine to knead it (and don't want one), I usually use the no-knead methold. Once and awhile I knead (I prefer the results for my pizza, actually) and the last time it came out so good - what a treat! I bought a couple of inexpensive mandoline type tools - one for slicing, one for grating - and that helps.

                                                                        Looking at some of the ideas in the replies. Thanks everyone!

                                                                        1. re: threedogs
                                                                          LMAshton RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2014 05:10 PM

                                                                          I make our bread, too. I use an alternate kneading method. Mix bread dough, let sit 20 minutes or so for flour to absorb liquid. Knead 10 strokes. Let sit 20-30 minutes, knead ten strokes - x3 or 4. That develops the gluten fine enough. I'll admit that, on bad days, I might knead only once or twice. I also go with higher hydration doughs so they're easier to handle and don't miss the kneading as much.

                                                                          1. re: LMAshton
                                                                            c
                                                                            carol1945 RE: LMAshton Mar 23, 2014 07:37 AM

                                                                            I was wondering I was going to be able to make bread, one of my favorite things to do.

                                                                            1. re: LMAshton
                                                                              threedogs RE: LMAshton Mar 25, 2014 08:49 AM

                                                                              I like the stretch & fold method. I combine it w/a longer rest, like with the no-knead. Basically does the same as what you are doing, I think. For pizza (my standard go-to food for family get togethers), I like the results when I can actually knead, and if I luck out with good flour, I don't have to knead much - but I'll only attempt that if my hands (and the rest of me) isn't in much pain. Quality of the flour is important, but I find even with brands, that's not always consistent. Oh, also, I'll throw in a little semolina when I have it, which makes the texture of the dough nice & easier to handle.

                                                                              Keep thinking of getting a food processor for both cutting the veggies & handling dough, but I don't think it's worth it to me. I'm in a different apartment than where I was when I first started this conversation - space was premium before for me, but now I really don't have any counter space at all... anyway, I've done without extra electric appliances all these years, so I think I'll continue as I've been doing, along with some added ideas suggested here.

                                                                            2. re: threedogs
                                                                              c
                                                                              carol1945 RE: threedogs Mar 23, 2014 07:40 AM

                                                                              Re: scissors-- I found these spring loaded scissors that are easier on the hands. Re: string beans --Those young beans taste better anyway. I now use my hand problem as an excuse to buy more expensive things!!

                                                                              1. re: carol1945
                                                                                threedogs RE: carol1945 Mar 28, 2014 01:17 PM

                                                                                Never heard of spring loaded scissors!!! Thank you so much - I'm def getting these!

                                                                          2. c oliver RE: threedogs Mar 22, 2014 08:47 AM

                                                                            I would also add ----- don't be rigid with your meal planning. Yesterday was a REALLY bad day. Instead of rack of lamb, roasted root vegetables and sauteed spinach we had takeout burritos :) Perfect.

                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                              LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 22, 2014 05:11 PM

                                                                              Yup. On bad days, we order out. The husband doesn't cook, but he's great with a credit card. :)

                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                p
                                                                                pine time RE: c oliver Mar 23, 2014 03:38 AM

                                                                                And a corollary to c oliver: on good days, cook extra stuff and freeze it for those bad days. I'm now recuperating from surgery, and we're both glad I cooked up a storm beforehand.

                                                                                Also seeing that I now reach more for the lighter weight mugs, glasses, plates, etc...the adaptations are even more than just cooking.

                                                                                The worst was one day when I couldn't peel off the metal foil liner on a new can of coffee. Now THAT's desperation time. Gave up for an hour, came back, and opened it easy peasy. All this stuff is so danged unpredictable.

                                                                                1. re: pine time
                                                                                  c
                                                                                  carol1945 RE: pine time Mar 23, 2014 07:35 AM

                                                                                  Exactly, one day I think, oh my hand is fine, I can do stuff, and then bang, no I can't. Last night I couldn't even use chopsticks at the Chinese restaurant.

                                                                                  1. re: pine time
                                                                                    LMAshton RE: pine time Mar 23, 2014 07:10 PM

                                                                                    Oh, I so identify. I usually cook enough meat and veggies for couple or three days, so we eat leftovers. No complaints for the husband, who'd rather I manage my energy levels better so I'm not cooking all the blasted time.

                                                                                    Also, I'm not allowed "real" dishes, ie anything that breaks. I drop. I also spill, but that's not as bad as broken glass. So we tend to use non-breakable drinking cups and dishes.

                                                                                    1. re: LMAshton
                                                                                      p
                                                                                      pine time RE: LMAshton Mar 25, 2014 05:12 AM

                                                                                      I'm thankful for lots of kitchen cabinets: I used to nest all the glass mixing bowls, and I thought nothing of pulling out the whole nest to get at a middle-level bowl. Can't manage that much weight on some days anymore, so I un-nested them. Small steps, but it makes cooking and kitchen management a whit easier.

                                                                                      1. re: pine time
                                                                                        c oliver RE: pine time Mar 25, 2014 08:36 AM

                                                                                        I think that bears repeating. Baby steps. Any little things that help can wind up being significant.

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                                                          LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 25, 2014 06:36 PM

                                                                                          So. True.

                                                                                          I want a kitchen remodel, but it's not in our budget at this point. I want to replace all the lower cabinets with drawers. Especially with my shoulder injuries, I just can't reach into the lower cabinets any further than the very front of them.

                                                                                          So we bought a bunch of plastic baskets which I've put into some of the lower cabinets. All the lids for my pots and pans into one. Into another, dried goods. Into another... Well, you get the idea. The basket I can pull out, so less reaching. Not as good as drawers, but it'll do until I can get that remodel.

                                                                                          1. re: LMAshton
                                                                                            c oliver RE: LMAshton Mar 25, 2014 06:38 PM

                                                                                            Visit Ikea and see if you can retrofit your existing cabinets with their pullout wire shelving/baskets. I love them.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                                              LMAshton RE: c oliver Mar 25, 2014 10:33 PM

                                                                                              Yeah, no can do. I'm in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The closest Ikea is in Singapore, which, while relatively close (I could get there in a couple of hours or so), is another country. The nearest Ikea in this country is Kuala Lumpur, which is at least six hours away by vehicle. Not going to happen.

                                                                                            2. re: LMAshton
                                                                                              p
                                                                                              pine time RE: LMAshton Mar 26, 2014 07:25 AM

                                                                                              Yup, I've gone the "homemade" drawers, too, either with baskets, or, when desperate, even those 3" tall lids from boxes of computer paper--a great size to slide in and out of the lower cabinets. I've also re-organized so that the lower cabinets hold mostly stuff I use less often, so less need to dig around.

                                                                                        2. re: LMAshton
                                                                                          threedogs RE: LMAshton Mar 28, 2014 01:22 PM

                                                                                          Sigh.... yep, LMAshton, you are truly speaking to me. Don't feel bad about dropping & breaking dishes... guess what I broke? Our toilet. Not in, oh, the toilet won't flush anymore. No. As in, oh, the toilet won't flush (again!), so I decide to lift the cover to the tank... the cover slips out of my hand... drops on the toilet AND splits THE TOILET in half!!! (the part that connects the toilet seat to the tank). Demolished the tank cover, too.

                                                                                          Bet no one can top that...

                                                                                          1. re: threedogs
                                                                                            LMAshton RE: threedogs Mar 28, 2014 05:25 PM

                                                                                            ROFL! So sorry you dropped a toilet! We have a broken toilet we need replacing, but it wasn't me who broke it. SO sorry, but I did laugh. :D And yeah, you've got me beat. :D

                                                                                        3. re: pine time
                                                                                          d
                                                                                          debbypo RE: pine time Mar 26, 2014 06:12 AM

                                                                                          I have carpal tunnel and it's very variable too. I use my toast tongs (super handy little wooden things a daughter got me) to grip things like that foil.
                                                                                          Also, I've found a y shaped peeler to be much better than the traditional one when I have to peel.

                                                                                          1. re: debbypo
                                                                                            threedogs RE: debbypo Mar 28, 2014 01:24 PM

                                                                                            Tongs are great. Mine somehow ended up broken after I left for a few days (this is the sort of thing that makes me want to lock up my kitchen if I need to go out of town for any length of time). Need to order another set.

                                                                                            1. re: threedogs
                                                                                              p
                                                                                              pine time RE: threedogs Mar 29, 2014 04:17 AM

                                                                                              Can you successfully use the wooden toast tongs in place of metal tongs for cooking? Two of my 3 metal tongs are so tightly spring loaded (I'm guessing) that they become uncomfortable if I'm cooking for a while. Ideas?

                                                                                              1. re: pine time
                                                                                                threedogs RE: pine time Mar 29, 2014 09:49 AM

                                                                                                Hope debbypo can answer this - I've never used wooden ones, only metal. The kind I have has silicone on the handles to make it very comfortable to hold.

                                                                                      2. Candy RE: threedogs Mar 23, 2014 10:56 AM

                                                                                        I'm finding that trying to cook with an arthritic right hand is a bit daunting. I frequently just have to delegate some things to my husband. It does help if I wear my brace, but sometimes it just gets in the way.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Candy
                                                                                          c
                                                                                          carol1945 RE: Candy Mar 23, 2014 12:17 PM

                                                                                          Yes, that brace gets in the way. I do not have anyone to help me.

                                                                                          1. re: carol1945
                                                                                            LMAshton RE: carol1945 Mar 23, 2014 07:10 PM

                                                                                            I'm sorry you don't have anyone to help. That sucks. :(

                                                                                            1. re: LMAshton
                                                                                              threedogs RE: LMAshton Mar 25, 2014 08:58 AM

                                                                                              I don't have anyone to help, either. I have adult kids, but they have their own lives. Once more, I like to be able to do as much as I can for myself.

                                                                                              All of it is simply adjustment. Also agree with the thought of ordering out when it gets bad... I fell & fractured my arm before last Christmas, and my kids insisted we order delivery for Christmas Eve. But I started to feel better & cooked up an 'easy' dinner - a big, Italian sauce/gravy, homemade raviolis (but I cheated & used packaged Chinese egg roll skins), baked chicken cutlets, some vegan sides (for my vegan daughter) and cookies for dessert. Well, for ME, that was easy. Took only one day to prepare & was so much fun for me.

                                                                                              (my kids still shook their collective heads partly in astonishment, partly in 'she did it again...' hahaha)

                                                                                              I don't even have the space here to put everything out to have everyone help themselves - but I'm thinking of ways to do that for future holidays. Cooking stuff ahead & freezing would be good too (my accident this winter prevented that).

                                                                                        2. monavano RE: threedogs Mar 23, 2014 11:21 AM

                                                                                          There are lots of gadgets to help arthritic hands in the kitchen.
                                                                                          Also, home paraffin baths are quite reasonable and could help with pain and stiffness.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: monavano
                                                                                            c oliver RE: monavano Mar 23, 2014 11:36 AM

                                                                                            Thanks for mentioning the paraffin baths.

                                                                                            1. re: monavano
                                                                                              c
                                                                                              carol1945 RE: monavano Mar 23, 2014 12:18 PM

                                                                                              Yes, those spring loaded scissors are much easier to use. Also many gadgets to get bottle tops off.

                                                                                            2. j
                                                                                              jeanmarieok RE: threedogs Mar 25, 2014 09:05 AM

                                                                                              Yeah, I feel your pain. I have found that using a potato peeler is crippling. So I have modified my potato prep, using thin skinned reds for everything, and just leaving the peel on. I use an apple peeler, spiral thingy for even just a few apples.

                                                                                              I use my big chef's knife as much as possible. A paring knife is painful to hold. So there's lots of coarse chopping here, not too much fine work.

                                                                                              I am interested in what others are doing, too.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                                threedogs RE: jeanmarieok Mar 25, 2014 09:44 AM

                                                                                                I've been leaving the peel on potatoes (just about all, except for cutting off bad spots) for many years. It's healthier for us, too... well that's what I told my kids, when I started this. My hands didn't hurt me back then - but taking care of the various needs of four little kids wore me out - so the peels stayed!

                                                                                                I didn't even own a peeler for a long while until recently, since I lost my favorite in a move (kept forgetting to order one, and never could find just the 'right' one for me in any store I happened to visit).

                                                                                                Finally purchased the Progressive International Peeler Set (three different peelers with magnets in the handles to help keep the together, which I like): http://tinyurl.com/mdqavly

                                                                                                I like these, but if my hands start to hurt more, I don't think I'll be able to use them - it would help a lot if the handles were thicker. Right now, my hands haven't been bothering me as much, and it is really nice not having to use a knife to scrape carrots for a change.

                                                                                                Love my just-right-for-me Ikea chef's knife - but when I can, I'd like to try the Dexter Duoglide mentioned in this thread. And keeping a sharp edge on all knives helps, of course, too - I use a very inexpensive wet stone I purchased in our (Boston's) chinatown for about $3 or $4. Works great!

                                                                                                1. re: threedogs
                                                                                                  LMAshton RE: threedogs Mar 25, 2014 06:39 PM

                                                                                                  I don't peel potatoes, either. Too much work. I'll scrub when necessary, but where we are now, we can get cleaned potatoes - hallelujah! - that require only a very light washing. So. Much. Less. Work. I don't care that they're not the best potato for every cooking requirement. They work for me and everyone else can suck it up. :P

                                                                                                  1. re: LMAshton
                                                                                                    threedogs RE: LMAshton Mar 28, 2014 12:14 PM

                                                                                                    Hahahaha!!! Love that - we need to do what's best for us, that's for sure!

                                                                                                    I live in the Boston area, so when I have the energy, strength and just in the mood for the craziness, I go into our Haymarket (open market - not local or organic, though) & can get my produce for super-cheap. I can get those little, baby potatoes for so much less than my local grocery store (if they even HAVE them), which only require a quick rinse - not even scrubbing - hooray - and the baby French string beans that are so delish. Just have to examine all to make sure they aren't past freshness. Sometimes I can even get organic strawberries, but not all the time.

                                                                                                    1. re: threedogs
                                                                                                      LMAshton RE: threedogs Mar 28, 2014 05:27 PM

                                                                                                      I'm also *really* blessed to have a husband who is so incredibly supportive of me. He will tell people to suck it up if anyone says anything. He has my back. :D

                                                                                                  2. re: threedogs
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                                                                                                    pine time RE: threedogs Mar 26, 2014 07:28 AM

                                                                                                    threedogs, on your need for thicker handles: you can purchase slide-on grips to cover many different sizes of handles, giving a built-up (and nicely padded) handle for danged near everything!

                                                                                                    1. re: pine time
                                                                                                      threedogs RE: pine time Mar 28, 2014 12:10 PM

                                                                                                      Thanks, pine time! Right now, I'm doing fine - I think I may need that after I start doing another big, crocheted rug. Decided to help my hands by purchasing a self-healing mat to cut the fabric (found that some fabrics/sheets ended up with way too many strands of thread when I just tore them), so maybe my hands won't be *too* sore after I do this. But I'm keeping all these ideas, just in case...

                                                                                                2. c oliver RE: threedogs Mar 25, 2014 09:51 AM

                                                                                                  Just thought of something I've been doing forever. For breaking the seal on a previously unopened jar, use the tip of a church key and gently pull up/out in a few spots til it releases.

                                                                                                  1. daislander RE: threedogs Mar 26, 2014 12:14 AM

                                                                                                    My grandma could barley move her hands at 69, 20 yrs later she had cured herself she said with diet (controlling your blood sugar) and a spoonful of gelatine and spoonful of flax everyday. Gelatine in hot mug of broth or porridge even she said. You can just eat the flax or put it something. It was mainly the gelatine. Its not a overnight thing so if you try it don't give up after 3 weeks. Hope this might help someone.

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: daislander
                                                                                                      monavano RE: daislander Mar 26, 2014 07:01 AM

                                                                                                      Wow, that would make her 80 - and her hands were actually doing better?
                                                                                                      I'll have what she's having!

                                                                                                      1. re: daislander
                                                                                                        threedogs RE: daislander Mar 28, 2014 01:28 PM

                                                                                                        Been thinking about how they used to recommend gelatine many yrs ago for strengthening nails & bones - going to start doing this! Thanks, daislander! I do believe your Grandma is 89? (monavano, you might have a typo there) Amazing success story!!

                                                                                                        1. re: threedogs
                                                                                                          daislander RE: threedogs Mar 28, 2014 08:49 PM

                                                                                                          Yes she lived until she was 96. The only thing she took was drops for glaucoma and a thyroid pill.

                                                                                                          I can picture her now telling me when she was 90, opening and closing her hands 'not a crick in my body'. That was after talking about how she had arthritis so bad she couldn't even open and close her hands.

                                                                                                          I suffer from carpel tunnel in both my wrists and I'm only 36. I know eventually I will have to get the surgery. It comes and goes worse now that its gardening season again and I'm using clippers all the time. Love those spring loaded scissors.

                                                                                                          1. re: daislander
                                                                                                            threedogs RE: daislander Mar 29, 2014 09:52 AM

                                                                                                            Well, I am def getting some gelatine & will take it from now on. Bet she was an amazing woman. Sorry you're in pain - it really gets in the way of our lives, doesn't it?

                                                                                                            1. re: threedogs
                                                                                                              LMAshton RE: threedogs Mar 29, 2014 06:24 PM

                                                                                                              Gelatine doesn't work for everyone. It depends on why you have joint problems.

                                                                                                              Gelatine is from collagen. Bone broth, besides having a lot of vitamins and minerals, if done right also has a lot of collagen in it.

                                                                                                              I have a genetic collagen defect called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. No amount of gelatine will fix what's wrong with me. When we consume gelatine or other foods, our body breaks it down into the building blocks, which our body then uses to build up muscle, bones, etc. So for someone like me, even if I consume perfectly-formed collagen, when my body uses it to make its own collagen, my collagen will still be defective.

                                                                                                              Now, of course, if I don't take in sufficient quantities of collagen and other proteins or other building blocks, then that'll just make the situation worse. But taking in the perfectly formed stuff won't cure me. I hope you understand the difference.

                                                                                                              There are also other factors at play. There are vitamin deficiencies that can cause collagen synthesis to be interrupted, meaning that collagen is even more defective (B12). Or things like fluoride where, if too much is taken in, can interrupt collagen production. There are quite a lot of things that can interrupt proper gene expression, (epigenetics) making things worse than they otherwise would. So if I can fix those things, then my collagen won't be as bad as it is under optimal conditions, but my collagen will still always be defective.

                                                                                                              I hope this makes sense.

                                                                                                      2. c oliver RE: threedogs Mar 28, 2014 01:24 PM

                                                                                                        I hit upon something the other day. I was carrying a carton of eggs and a block of cheese to the fridge. I put my forearm across my body and 'cradled' the food there. Much better.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver
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                                                                                                          carol1945 RE: c oliver Mar 28, 2014 01:34 PM

                                                                                                          I decided to really cook this morning. Oh my, I was using my new ergonomic knife ($30) to cut, my new ergonomic sponge ($10) to wipe up messes, wearing my brace $25, Amazon), letting the velcro get all full of garlic bits, I mean, really, all of this and my hand still hurts afterwards. I was trying so hard to do "joint protection" moves. C. Oliver, what you describe is great, it is protecting your thumb joint and hands. What I found out this morning is that there are millions of tiny moves we make automatically and they are hard on the hands. For example, taking the paper off garlic is hard!! I almost want to give up, but I won't. Let's keep helping each other here.

                                                                                                          1. re: carol1945
                                                                                                            c oliver RE: carol1945 Mar 28, 2014 01:50 PM

                                                                                                            Not food related but I HAD to iron some clothes today and thought that would be hell. Surprisingly not. But cutting the sandwich for lunch in half was a challenge :) I found that if I just pressed straight down with no 'sawing' action it was alright. I also appreciate this thread.

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver
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                                                                                                              carol1945 RE: c oliver Mar 29, 2014 05:55 PM

                                                                                                              Yes, my hand felt "all right" today, then I tried to help my mother who is 96 with her coat. I could not do the snaps. It is the motion of pressing the thumb towards the finger, I think. But it is probably different for everybody. I know stirring a pot is better if you hold the handle differently. Can't explain it, but you can find a picture online.

                                                                                                            2. re: carol1945
                                                                                                              threedogs RE: carol1945 Mar 28, 2014 01:57 PM

                                                                                                              I can't eat too much garlic, but my former SO used to buy the chopped kind in oil. But there are also many devices to help get that garlic paper off - like you need to add anything else to your Amazon account, carol1945! My preferred method that I really, really like is smashing the heck out of it with anything hard (as long as THAT doesn't cause me more pain).

                                                                                                              Maybe I have some issues...

                                                                                                              1. re: carol1945
                                                                                                                LMAshton RE: carol1945 Mar 28, 2014 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                I buy minced garlic in a jar when I can find it. I need to see if I can find it again - it saved my hands a fair bit.

                                                                                                                I also can get fried shallots here (Malaysia), which I sometimes add to soups or stews for the deep browned onion flavour. I need to remember to use that more often rather than peeling and browning my own.

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