Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stroke recovery: Cooking skills

Dianne at Schmidley’s Scribblings posted here recently about resurrecting her cooking skills and developing new culinary pleasures and strategies as stages of life require changes in diet.

I have never been the primary cook in my family, so there were few culinary skills to resurrect after my 2011 stroke. But upon our return from a recent trip, hubby had harvested a good mess of pole beans, probably the last for this season.

I couldn’t let those beans languish. Operating one-handed with assistance from my left fist and even my knees, I removed the ends and snapped those beans. I was ready to cook!

Thankfully, a kitchen experience early in my stroke recovery journey had alerted me to potential dangers in the kitchen. My therapists had punctured my excitement when I told them about cooking an egg over easy for my breakfast. My occupational therapist made me promise not to try cooking again until I ordered all sorts of heat-resistant coverings for left arm and hand.

It wasn’t many days later that I stretched to reach something high in a cabinet to the right side of our stovetop. While my right side was engaged, my stroke-affected left arm and hand flopped upon the stovetop.

The burner wasn’t on, but I was horrified at the sight of my left hand lying on the stove’s front burner as I carefully lowered a container of prescription and vitamin bottles to the adjacent counter top with my right.

I had experienced no sensory clues about where my left arm and hand were. Had the burner been on, I may not have felt anything. And even if I did, my stroke-injured brain would not have processed the sensory input accurately enough or quickly enough to prevent injury.

Since that experience I had limited my culinary attempts to oatmeal in the microwave, nuking small baking potatoes and sweet potatoes or toasting bread in our pop-up toaster. 

I never did order those heat resistant mitts and sleeves. From my research I decided they would require assistance to get them on plus reviews were mixed about their effectiveness.

I am happy to report that I completed my first post-stroke bean-cooking effort safely. Cooking them was all I could manage, though. Photos were not a priority. Besides, they were not the prettiest beans I had ever seen.

The next day Husband Walter and I ate them all as a side to the pork chops and corn on the cob he prepared.

Success tasted delicious.


  1. I use any excuse I can find to not cook. you have the perfect one, so use it lady, no cooking allowed. ... that is really scary about the burner...

  2. This is certainly scary stuff, but I am glad of your bran victory!!! It is a good thing that Walter knows how to cook, many husbands do not. But I know that you want to do it yourself, and you will be cooking huge meals in time, I KNOW it!

  3. Those beans sound great. My therapist suggested that if I can sit to cook, I should probably be ok. Since I havce been sitting and cooking for the last 6 months plus, I should be fine. Can you steam the beans? When they are done, toss them, or have hubbie toss them, with a melted butter garlic sauce. Delicious.

  4. Oh my that was a scary experience with the burner.
    I think you have some special guardian angels on duty!
    I'm glad you keep trying things though. Good for the muscles...both mental and physical.
    Thanks for being willing to up date us and to talk about the strides and missteps too.
    Thanks for your prayers and concerns for our family. I'm so glad to be a part of the family of God.

  5. Yikes, that is something I would have never thought about. Scary. Cooking would require serious concentration. Mage's approach sounds doable.
    Glad you are back.

  6. That was a scary experience for you. I am so glad you didn't burn your hand.

  7. Mage, your version sounds delicious. We have a steamer that Hubby uses regularly for fresh veggies. The beans I was cooking had not bean (oops. Hee hee) picked for more than a week while we were away. They were too old and tough. I resorted to my southern rural heritage and cooked them to death until they were tender. No bacon grease or meat, though, just a tiny drbble of olive oil and, gasp, a little bit of Splenda. i thought that would be the end of our bean season, but Hubby came in today with another batch he had picked. Looks like we will get to try out the Mage version!

    Thanks all for a "delicious" welcome back. Each comment is like a wonderful, unexpected gift.