I can’t cook. A lot of people say that, but for me it’s the physical act of cooking I can no longer do. I actually used to be a pretty decent cook, and I particularly kicked ass at baking cookies from scratch. However, the progressive loss of the full use of my hands and the weakening of my arms makes simple things like stirring a pot or placing a baking tray in an oven virtually impossible. I live by myself, so you can see how this might pose a problem. Well, I’m here to give you some suggestions for how to keep from dying of starvation if you can no longer physically cook — or if you just really suck at it.
The first, and most obvious, solution is takeout. I have to admit, I spend WAY more than my fair share of dollars on Uber Eats. Sadly, the service is not available all across the country, and if it were we would probably be all be 100 pounds heavier. The way it works is that Uber has agreements with certain restaurants in your neighborhood. You use the app on your phone to order your meal, then an Uber driver in the area picks it up at the restaurant and delivers it to your door. You pay through the Uber app that you already have, which is really convenient. The delivery charge is usually around five dollars, but it can be a little bit lower if the restaurant is really close to you, or considerably higher if it’s a high traffic time of day. Depending on where you live, the restaurant selection can be mostly fast food or some higher and restaurants. But if you live in a bigger city, definitely look into it.
Because I can’t cook, one of the biggest challenges I have is giving my two kids healthy meals during the summer when they live with me full-time. I’ll be honest – my dietary intake quality is for shit, especially when I’m working really hard and I forget to eat lunch or dinner. However, several years ago I discovered a company called Magic Kitchen when my best friend sent me frozen food deliveries after having my second son. This is not your typical frozen dinner. The food is flash frozen in a different way than Stouffers or Healthy Choice, the food quality is much higher, and you can order meals with a variety of restrictions based on any dietary limitations you might have. You can also buy entire meal bundles or entrées and side dishes separately, based on whatever works for you or your family. I like the separate packages since I live alone, and I don’t exactly need a dinner for four. It’s not cheap, but if you want good quality healthy food, this might be an option for you.
If using a big oven is out of the question for you, like it is for me, then I would recommend investing in a top-quality toaster oven or mini oven. I have one that’s just big enough to hold a 13“ x 9“ casserole dish, which I might use if I actually enjoyed making casseroles. In the meantime, it’s a great option for everything from kids heating up their frozen waffles to heating up pizza to baking small batches of cookies, or even toasting grilled cheese sandwiches.
Speaking of grilled, you may mock the George Foreman grill. But I’ll tell you, if you really have a hankering for chicken or hotdogs or some kind of meat that really needs to be cooked, there is no better option for cooking in small batches than one of these grills. They come in different sizes, so if for some reason you have to cook for yourself and someone else, you can definitely fit a couple of hamburgers or chicken breasts. They are also fantastic for making paninis if you’re tired of preparing cold sandwiches all the time.
Another thing to look into is grocery store delivery. Since I live alone, it’s way too difficult for me to buy all the groceries I need while in my power wheelchair since I can’t push the grocery cart easily. There’s a service in my area called Shipt that works with Publix and will soon be working with Target, if they’re not already. Several grocery store chains offer home delivery for a fee, and Walmart will do all the shopping for you and leave your grocery bags together for a quick pick up at the entrance. You obviously still have to find a way to cook it, or if you can’t, this is still a good way to buy fresh produce that doesn’t require cooking. There are even cutting tools that look like scissors and allow you to slice smaller types of food without having to cut with a knife.
And at the end of the day, there’s always pizza. Nothing can ever go wrong with pizza. Somebody once said that pizza is like sex; even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ll think about it tonight over a slice of pepperoni while watching Netflix.