Final Research Paper


Doing Things Differently

Jahyun Lee

Int Sem 2: Visual Culture.D02


May 02, 2016



Healthy food is one of the keen necessities of life because it has a direct impact on the health of the individuals. But, preparing food and shopping food has always remained a crucial part for everyone because making a delicious and nutritious food is not an easy job to do. While, if we talk about the visually impaired people so it becomes tougher for them to prepare food and also to keep good care of their health because blindness always makes the preparation of food tough job. A number of researchers have made numerous research on the different areas of life for blind people but unfortunately a very limited research is made on the relationships of food and blind people.[1] Due to the limited research, limited products have been innovated in the food sector for blind people. And, if we talk about the difficulty level of working in kitchen for blind people so there is no doubt that it becomes very difficult for blind people to work in kitchens due to a number of reasons. Some of the reasons are that a blind person cannot easily measure or cannot adjust the knob of the oven or cannot take precautionary measures while cooking due to the blindness.

Some of the new inventions that have been made in the kitchen accessories and have made cooking food easier for blind people and now even blind person can more easily cook for himself/herself. Blind people have a unique and challenging relationship to food and still many of them have become successful cooks by adopting a number of specific strategies and tools for buying, storing, preparing and consuming food. Some of them are able to be independent and enjoy food much as sighted people do.  However, there remain several areas in which new strategies and tools could ease and enhance the relationship of vision-impaired individuals to food.

One of the most important aspect of the relationship of food and blind people is the shopping for food because visually impaired persons cannot do the shopping for food preparation alone. Some of the methods which are used by the blind people for food shopping includes the “big shop”, “small shop”, “someone else does the shopping,” and “e-shopping”.[2]

Big shop includes shopping for food by making an actual trip to the store and purchasing food with an intention for it to last for almost two to six weeks. In big shop, blind people make the visit once in a month and purchase the food items for the whole month. This method is used only by people who have a good pay source and can afford the big shop. The small shop includes shopping only for food articles which are necessary to make a few meals. This method is used by those blind persons who have a relatively low income status and cannot use the big shop methodology. The third methodology for blind shopping includes the “someone else does the shopping” in which a family member or a friend do the shopping for blind people. Most blind individuals use this method because in this practice, blind people do not have to visit the store. A fourth method for buying food is used by those blind persons who are computer literate and have the access to the internet, to the technology specially designed for the blinds by which they can buy online from the stores and also to those communities where these delivery service is possible. This methodology is used only by those persons who have the access to internet and knows how to use the computer and have dome some courses on how visually impaired persons can use the computer.[3]

Blind people also have trouble learning about new foods. Most use two methods for finding out about new products. First they map hear of them from a friend or from a family member. Secondly, they map learn about them on television and radio. Words of mouth is the commonly marketing technique used by a number of hotels and restaurants.[4]

A number of problems are also faced by the blind people during cooking. Accessing recipes and organizing the items in the kitchen such as slicing, measuring, dealing with hot food, frying food, extra time association with cooking and determining doneness. According to the study made on cooking food, a number of blind people does not consider cooking food suitable for them because a number of them does not have confidence in cooking food by themselves while some of them took guidance from the family members while cooking, some considers that they are self-taught and often cook food for themselves but also for others.[5]

If we talk about the problems as mentioned above, then it can be said that these are the basic problems because accessing recipe is a difficult task due to the limited availability of recipe books for blind people. Very limited printed media in Braille or audiobooks are available for blind people which makes it difficult. Detecting of the food that had gone bad is very difficult task because they can only detect it by smell or by touch. Chopping is also a difficult task for blind people because in this way they can hurt themselves by cutting their fingers.[6]

Measurement of liquid products is also difficult because of spilling and figuring out when the measure is full. Setting dials and time frame for oven is also a bit difficult task for them due to a number of reasons. First of them is the accessing of the oven second is the accessing of knob and setting the time limit, third keen problem is the removal of the food product from the oven because they are unable to see the time limit which makes difficult to do so. Another problem which is associated with cooking food for the blind is the determination of doneness. They are unable to see that food is ready and should be removed from the heat.[7]

These are some of the problems which are related to the cooking food for blind people. a number of blind people prefers to visit restaurants for food or they prefer already made food because they feel it is more likely if they will cook for themselves. While, if we look at it, it is also not always the case that every blind person prefers to rely on someone for food. A number of them have proved to be skilled cooks and it all has become possible due to the new strategies and technologies.

What are the specific strategies these blind people had to adopt for better cooking environment? In interview with David E. Price, an enthusiastic cooker, he explained the technique he used for measuring liquids. When measuring large quantities of liquids (1/4 cup or more), he use a “spill pan” under the measuring cup, the excess in the spill pan can be poured back into the original container. For measuring small amounts of liquids he use a “dipping” spoon. “A dippling spoon is a normal metral measuring spoon with a handle that had been bent 90 degrees just above` the bowl of the spoon.” This way, the handle can be held vertically and the bowl of the spoon dipped into the liquid, filled, and then move to its destination. He also have a talking kitchen scale that weighs in pounds/ounces or grams.[8] David further explains how he has adopted technique working with knives, working on the stovetop, gas burners, and so forth. As our internet developed there are more and more tips for blind people using kitchen. Some of tips about doing things differently in kitchen proposed by “Seeing Beyond Vison Loss” a service website for visually impaired people, include following.

Outline counter edges and electrical outlets with wide tape of a contrasting color.

Use light-colored dishes on a dark tablecloth, or vice versa.

Mark frequently-used settings on the oven or other dials with a thick swipe of bright nail polish or a bumper dot, available from CNIB’s Web store or Consumer Products and Assistive Technology catalogue.

Re-label jars and canned goods using a thick black marker and sticky labels.

Use a liquid measure tool such as the EZ Fill Liquid Pouring Alert, available through CNIB, to help you when pouring liquids.

This can help you avoid accidents with hot or cold liquids. Remove small throw rugs from the kitchen – they are not easily seen and may be a tripping hazard.

Keep cupboard doors and drawers closed at all times and make sure that everything is always put away in its proper place.

Use the “clock method” to identify where certain foods are located on a plate. For example, “the rice is at three o’clock and the beans at seven o’clock.”[9]

A number of new innovations have been made in the food sector in order to ease blind people. It has also made possible for blind people to become successful chefs and according to the interview with a blind chef, a number of new tools designed for blind people has made the possibility to cook properly.[10] Some of the new innovations include the talking scale, a talking thermometer, a liquid level indicator and also braille labels. Some of the other devices which are made for the blind people includes the I Grill, measuring jugs and spoons, talking microwaves, talking timers, talking labels and liquid level indicators.[11]

The Government of United States has also taken vital steps in order to assist better to the blind people in the food sector. Government has passed the “Americans with disabilities act” which includes special services for the blind people.[12] Government has ordered the public restaurants and other public places owners to provide additional services such as the modifications in the policies for the blind people and also the special menu designs for blind people.[13] The steps taken by the government and the new innovations in the food sector has made much easier for blind people to make career in the food sector. Now blind people can easily cook food by using the new utensils designed for blind people and it also have lessened the challenges for the blind people. In this way, they can take better care of their health and can easily utilize the new tools.

There is no doubt that there are still many areas in the food sector for blind people which need attention. New innovations in the technology has made it easier for the blind people to cook food and also made their career as a professional cook possible. Still many blind people consider it a difficult job. New innovations in those sectors of the food which are still lack of new technology. The relationship of blind people to food is still complex and much of the times, they have to rely on others for the food shopping and also for cooking.







ADA Guide for Places of Lodging: Serving Guests Who Are Blind Or Who Have Low                 

Vision. (2016). Retrieved 12 April 2016, from


Belo Cipriani.“An Interview with The Blind Cook, Christine Ha.” Belo Miguel

Cipriano, last modified August 13, 2014,



Bilyk, M., Sontrop, J., Chapman, G., Barr, S., & Mamer, L. (2009). Food Experiences and

Eating Patterns of Visually Impaired and Blind People. Canadian Journal Of

Dietetic Practice And Research, 70(1), 13-18.


Clotilde Dusoulier, October 14, 2008, interview on David E.

Price, “How the Blind Cook,” C&Z (blog), April 25, 2015

(8:30 p.m.),



“Doing Things Differently in the Kitchen.” Seeing Beyond Vision Loss. Accessed

April 25, 2015.



“Kitchen Products for Blind or Partially Sighted Users.” DLF. Accessed April 25,




Safe Cooking Techniques for Cooks Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision – American

Foundation for the Blind. (2016). Retrieved 12 April 2016, from


[1]        Bilyk M et al., (2009). Food Experiences and Eating Patterns of Visually Impaired and Blind People. Canadian Journal Of Dietetic Practice And Research, 70(1), 13-18

[2]        M el al., Food…

[3] IBID

[4]          M el al., Food…

[5] IBID

[6] IBID

[7]          M el al., Food…

[8]        David E. Price, “How the Blind Cook,” C&Z (blog), April 25, 2015 (8:30 p.m.),

[9]          “Doing Things Differently In the Kitchen.” Seeing Beyond Vision Loss. Accessed April 25, 2015.

[10]          “An Interview with The Blind Cook, Christine Ha.,” last modified August 13, 2014, disability/an-interview-with-the-blind-cook-christine-ha/

[11]         “Kitchen Products for Blind or Partially Sighted Users.” Accessed April 25,



[12]         ADA Guide for Places of Lodging: Serving Guests Who Are Blind Or Who Have Low Vision. 2016, Retrieved 12 April 2016, from

[13] IBID


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