Modern appliances increasingly use touchscreens and are becoming less accessible as standalone products. The good news is there are still a number of cooking appliances that are usable by blind and partially sighted people.
Slow cookers can be a good way of avoiding heated hobs or rushing with the preparation of ingredients. Many slow cookers still have tactile dials.
Many slow cookers, ovens and microwaves continue to be fitted with tactile dials. They can be a great alternative to heated hobs, reducing the need for hasty ingredient preparation. Labelling with bump-ons or tactile markers can help with this or enquire in store as they may be able to make adjustments for you. Some microwaves have touch-invisible buttons that might make good targets for labels.
An exciting innovation is Induction Cookers. They use electromagnetism from the cooker surface to create heat energy inside the induction pan, instead of using a standard gas or electric hob and pan. Induction cooks food more quickly and safely with less energy. Cooking surfaces are cool to touch and pans cool almost instantly once induction plates are turned off and so are much safer. The drawbacks to Induction cooking are cost, though prices are rapidly coming down. Specialised pots and pans are required for cooking, as existing pots and pans will not work with induction.
A more expensive option is to get a specialist talking microwave. Check out the Living Made Easy website. The range includes combined convection and microwave ovens.
Talking Induction Hobs are available from Cobolt Systems, in both single and double hob varieties.
Using your smartphone
Unfortunately smartphones are still not able to cook for us…or can they?! There are slow cookers that can be controlled using companion mobile apps which have preset cooking modes for various dishes. The Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth cooker and the Tefal Cook4Me Connect are examples of these.
We expect a greater trend towards smart appliances in the near future, including appliances that can be controlled using your voice.
Check out ‘Yes Chef Hands Free Recipe Assistant’ on iOS if you want recipe instructions read to you while you cook.
Or perhaps your digital personal assistant can help in a similar way? Check out the recipe skills available on Amazon Alexa. Your personal assistant can also be used as a timer.
The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers guide from 2015, ‘Choosing cookers, ovens, hobs and microwaves’ offers useful advice for those seeking inclusively designed appliances.
Living Made Easy website.