A Healing Table: Simplicity and the Stove

(Part six in a series on finding simplicity when living with chronic pain/limits; the full series can be found here)

I've found that using the stove in a "normal" way doesnt have to be a given. There are some pretty odd sounding things i find helpful (more like necessary) on reglular basis there. One is sliding pots full of food rather than lifting them. This can be done by having next to the pot a stack of heavy pot holders (i use the thick coiled circle kind) up to the level of the pot bottom, and another stack next to that on the counter. Then you can slide the pot from the burner to the first pot holder stack, and then slide it from there to the second stack, and then slide it all along the counter to where you need it. Or if your counter is level with the stovetop, then you will only need one stack vs two. I kind of roll the pot a little on its side as i slide it over to the potholder stacks, makes it move easier.

And when draining water from the pot or getting the food out, a cup can be dipped in several times for doing this, rather than lifting the pot to pour things out. Another thing helpful is to use a toaster oven rather than the regular oven on the stove. With a toaster oven you can put it at the right ergonomic height (unlike the painful, and for some of us impossible, position of the oven). And the door to a toaster oven is far lighter and easier to use. And since i need to keep lifting light anyway, i know i wouldnt be cooking anything larger than what would fit in a toaster oven at any rate. Its also more energy efficient.

Stoves are so important, are practically our modern hearths. And there is something just so archetypal about standing at the stove stirring the soup for example.... I love when i can do this and truly miss it when i can't. But limits do happen, even here. And so when flared up i will sometimes, instead of using the stove itself, make a mini ergonomic version by putting a small single burner at the table so i can sit down while cooking and stirring. Its sure not as fun, but its sometimes needed becuase during a flare up it is far less painful this way.

Ditto, by the way, for doing other stages of food prep in this sitting-at-the-table-way. And even dishes can be done this way when needed (using towels or dishcloths with vinegar as the cleanser, which doesnt need rinsing....with dishes and cooking being kept to a real minimim then of course). The stove, the counter, the sink, they are all such central archetypal places that i miss so much when i cannot use them...but sometimes it happens. I guess we just do what we have to do even if it looks a little wierd. What really matters isnt how it looks, but that we can still keep the joy of caring for our homes and those we love in the ways we can : )

(Image from a magnet, can be seen here)

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