Back in Hampshire, I managed to find Steve and his Sri Lankan beef curry – but I’d been lucky to discover him. https://youtu.be/gS0RlZ9lF4o
There must be thousands of visually impaired people across such a big county but it was difficult to locate some who would cook with me. Begging e-mails to the organisations for blind people plus the other charities and voluntary sector organisations failed. Was it me? Was it the prospect of the video camera? Or are blind people not cooking?
Thanks to Southampton Sight, that supports people from beyond the city, I managed to find Steve, Kate and Sue who all generously shared their time, recipes and cooking tips.
Steve’s curry was especially new: I’d never used Sri Lankan flavours and my tube of tamarind paste had been languishing, unloved and neglected, in the cupboard for more years than its “Best Before” date could bear.
Most inspiring was Steve himself. He is one of those precise and meticulous cooks who gets all his ingredients prepared first and then can cook easily without making a mess – which is important when you can’t see well. He has enough residual sight to be able to read the spice labels with a magnifying glass. This is always tricky with any level of sight loss so I try to always keep the spices in the same order and then trust to memory, smell and taste. He was particularly careful with the tin of coconut – notorious for that large lump of coconut solid that usually slides out of the tin at the last moment to splash in to the pan. His advice was to give the tin a good stir at the start and break up the solids.
Most caring was his concern that his usual level of chili would be too much for me and the other guests. It’s a fine cook who is ready to lay down his own taste for the sake of others. And it was delicious.
If you know anyone who has lost some or all their sight, why not encourage them with their cooking? Being independent in the kitchen can be so satisfying and rewarding. Perhaps one of the videos might help show what’s possible?