Holiday Cooking with MasterChef Winner Christine Ha

Photo Courtesy of Mitch Mandel/Rodale

Photo Courtesy of Mitch Mandel/Rodale

This holiday season MABVI brings you tips and tricks on how to get in the spirit. “MasterChef” winner Christine Ha, who is visually impaired, shared her holiday cooking tips for us! Ha is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Recipes from my Home Kitchen. She also offers some recipes from her blog, The Blind Cook.

On assumptions about vision loss and cooking:

Perhaps the biggest misconception blind people have about cooking is that it’s impossible. It’s not. Look at me. It’s about practice and adapting your kitchen and tools accordingly. My biggest accomplishment as a chef is obviously winning “MasterChef” Season 3. But more importantly, it’s relearning how to cook independently after vision loss. What I enjoy most about cooking is the same today as it was when I first began: learning how to improve, learning about new ingredients and techniques, just learning and improving in general—and, of course, feeding others.

 On getting back in the kitchen after experiencing vision loss:

It’s about practice and experience and not being afraid to make mistakes. Rather, you learn from them. Start with the small stuff: learn how a knife should feel in your hands. Cut something easy like a lemon or orange. Do it slowly and carefully. Make sure to curl your fingertips away from the blade. Begin by heating up a soup in a saucepan. Take baby steps and feel victorious over the little things.

As with anything around the house as a VI person, it’s important to be organized. Get a sighted person to help you organize your kitchen from the pantry to the cabinets to the fridge and spice rack. Buy some adaptive tools like a talking scale, talking thermometer and a liquid level indicator. Mark the “5”, “start” and “stop” buttons on the microwave with raised bump stickers. Mark the oven knobs and buttons, and stove burner knobs so that the functions and temperatures are easily functional for you.

 On recommendations for easy holiday cooking:

Stuffing is a holiday staple. Many cooks often resort to packaged stuffing and dressing it up with added sausage, dried cranberries, apples, walnuts, onion, celery, etc. Or just simply follow the package directions, and voila. You’ve got an instant side dish for the holidays. Other simple holiday dishes include caramel dip for apples, roasted Brussels sprouts or squash, or a cheese spread.

Holiday Recipes from The Blind Cook blog:
Bring savory slices of prime rib to your dinner table with your choice of au jus and horseradish sauces. Ha recommends a digital meat thermometer to make sure the prime rib comes out perfect.
http://www.theblindcook.com/2010/12/22/prime-rib-au-jus-with-horseradish-sauce/

Bake soft and sweet gingerbread cookies without molasses. This recipe includes butterscotch pudding mix, ginger, cinnamon and brown sugar for that decadent taste.
http://www.theblindcook.com/2010/12/20/gingerbread-cookies/

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This entry was posted in Christine Ha, Holidays, Tips, Uncategorized, Useful Resources and Tips and tagged , , , , , , , by mabvi. Bookmark the permalink.

About mabvi

Pressing Need The number of seniors with low vision is expected to double by 2030, as the “baby boomers” experience sight loss such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Low vision makes it difficult to complete activities of daily living, puts elders at increased risk of falls, and complicates health care compliance. There is a pressing need for low vision services today more than ever, to ensure people with vision loss can continue to live the lives they want. Elders are the fastest-growing and most vulnerable population of persons with sight loss. Four of the five major causes of blindness are directly related to the aging process: age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. According to data published by the Commission for the Blind and the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, there are an estimated 105,000 elders in Massachusetts with serious sight loss who cannot receive state-funded services because they are not “legally blind.” Nevertheless, their vision impairment is serious, and without appropriate intervention, can have a devastating impact on their independence.

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