When she was little, my daughter loved having me read to her “Alexander and the No Good, Very Bad Day.” I recommend it for children and adults as well. I’m not kidding. My version is “The No Good, Very Bad Week” Spoiler alert, I broke my elbow.

That sentence sounds odd, but I did, and now I’m sporting an arm’s length cast. The upside is, as I peck at the keyboard with one hand, I have inspiration for this week’s column. I once saw a chicken peck out a tune on a miniature piano. Talented chicken, but my next step will be to find a voice recognition app.

I’m fiercely independent, so when considering my life for the next six to 10 weeks as a one-armed bandit, I first expressed gratitude I have full use of one arm and hand, then got to work assembling a plan. I won’t be making butter or bread soon or anything else. I’m grateful friends have already stepped up to help me meet this challenge.

While healing, an injury may be more challenging than other low mobility afflictions; however, generally, low mobility presents cooking challenges. How might you help, or if you have low mobility, how can you re-imagine the kitchen experience? Ask the afflicted what is helpful. What one person needs may not be what someone else needs. Is this limitation permanent or temporary? Some appliances may require removal or repositioning. What apps and other modern technology might be helpful?

Rechargeable tools such as a hand mixer are great for easy, lightweight recipes. The better ones mix cookies and cakes and even meringues. There are no cords for entanglement during operation. The disadvantage is that they may be heavier than a corded mixer.

For someone prone to falling asleep waiting for the kettle to boil or something to bake, use a phone timer or portable “egg timer.” About that kettle! An electric one that shuts off automatically is perfect. You don’t have to worry about burning up the kettle. I have a Haden that heats to exact temperatures for tea or coffee and shuts off automatically.


A slow cooker or Instant Pot, once set in place, are great for “set it and forget it” meals. If weight is an issue, the downside is that they are heavy to maneuver. The upside is that they make “pour and cook” meals even more effortless.

Keep tools where they can be easily reached, on the counter, a low shelf, or in a drawer. Keep knives sharp so cutting food is more effortless. Sharp scissors will help cut packages, vegetables, and meat. I lean on the package with my left side and use my good hand to utilize the scissors. Every kitchen needs a great pair of scissors.

Frozen, no-chopping-needed vegetables, meats, and fruits are helpful. Without assistance, canned or jarred foods are frustratingly hard and often impossible to open. Recipes easy for children are usually easy for mobility, energy-challenged cooks.

Final advice. Phone a friend.

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