Saturday, 29 May 2021

We are the World Blogfest # 49 Blindness does not stop us cooking …

 

People always amaze me at the accomplishments they achieve … but even more so when they are blind, or become blind …

 


I’ll be writing about one British man … but the BBC World Service programme ‘The Food Chain’ I heard was about three cooks … and I link across to them.

 



Simon Mahoney has written this wonderful book titled ‘First Catch your Rabbit’ – or Cooking without Fear … with a sub-title …

When You

Have To …

You Do

What You

Have To …

  

As the back blurb states: ‘Losing your sight is dreadful.  Losing it entirely is devastating.  Losing your wife and best friend (just before Covid struck) so there are no eyes in your home is pushing the bounds of endurance.  Losing your favourite dog is just careless.  In such a situation you either laugh or you cry.’ 

 

Here he describes how he mastered the kitchen, entirely alone, blind, dodging three dogs and a cat called ‘Spitfire’ is anybody’s guess … 

… but honestly who could not be drawn in.

 

As he says – please note … ‘no rabbit was harmed, alarmed or even caught whilst writing this book’. 



Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit

He acknowledges the help he’s received … family, friends, The Blind Veterans UK, and being able to draw on the Officer Training Wing, Infantry Training Centre, Royal Marines – for providing an excruciating character-forming experience which has been instrumental in overcoming the challenges of my sight loss.

 

It’s not a cook book … more a survival manual … for those whose eyes deteriorate until they cannot read, but who might be interested in his kitchen techniques for coping … 

 

He has exercises called ‘Getting your Hands Back’ … this is proprioception – also referred to as ‘kinesthesia’ - and is the sense of self-movement and body position … we all need it … and is one sense that we need to get working effectively again … it is sometimes described as the “sixth sense” …

 

 

Simulation of real life in the 
mid-15th century ... preparing 
a rabbit for a meal

Here is proof that we can all achieve, even in the most challenging of situations … his explanations are so down to earth … so understandable – and perhaps exercises we can get into the habit of using, even before any wear and tear sets in.

 


 

So catch your rabbit – be grateful for your sight … while having this book up your sleeve to help others and perhaps in due course yourself.

  

 

We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, be Light

 

Winging It Blind … life can’t be stopped … it is ours, wherever we find ourselves …

  

BBC world Service – The Food Chain


Payal Kapoor’s YouTube Channel ‘Rasoi ke Rahasya’ … Cooking without Lookingthis NewZealand site tells the story of India’s Payal Kapoor

 

The Blind Goat is a modern Vietnamese gastropub inHouston, Texas … run by Christine Hà … Gordon Ramsay mentions her extraordinary palate of incredible finesse.

 

Winging it Blind – Simon Mahoney’s website … with links to his first book ‘A Descent into Darkness’ and his blog, videos etc and this book … First Catch Your Rabbit!

 



Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


48 comments:

Joanne said...

People are SO strong and capable to adapt to any situation. It's good to be reminded of this. Quite a story. You truly read and find the most interesting aspects of life. Thanks for this nugget. And I'm grateful I can see - now if only I were a better cook - ha!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
human resourcefulness is as wide and deep as any ocean upon this slice earth... just astounding how we can adapt and survive. Thanks for this Hilary, I'll follow my nose now! YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

How fascinating - and a book I must track down. Thank you.
People's incredibly resilience is something I come across time and time again on the crisis line - and it always humbles me and blows me away.

Marja said...

Wow this is a Hero's act to overcome such adversary How strong and amazing people can be. It sounds like a fascinating and inspirational book

Hels said...

Be grateful for your sight, and every other bodily system that is still working well! YES! And if there is a need for help from other people, be very grateful that the support is available.

But I would be afraid that if I went blind or had to sit in a wheelchair, it would be the depression that ended my independence, not the physical problem.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

My great uncle was completely blind, but was a keen gardener. He'd take my father to look at his vegetables "They look good, don't they" he'd exclaim. One day my dad got home and realised he'd lost some keys so he phoned Uncle Cyril. "I heard something drop when we were looking at the beetroot, I'll go and look!" Two minutes later he returned to the phone to say he'd found them. He used to sometimes win prizes at the local produce show; as he often pointed out, he had an advantage over the other competitors who had to stop their gardening when it got dark!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Hello Hilary: Years ago I did a lot of volunteer work with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and was chairman of one of their regional boards, and also a member of the Ontario Board of Management, so I had many opportunities to observe how people overcame their challenges. Most unbelievable was the ability of those who were both deaf and blind. I used to lead a group of blind teens on bird walks, where they birded by ear of course. They could locate and identify a bird before I even saw it! Best help I ever had.

Susan Scott said...

An amazing story thank you Hilary. I'm reminded of Helen Keller and her advocacy for the blind and deaf, herself being blind at a very young age. I love the comments I've read so far. A lovely post for the @WATWB.

Annalisa Crawford said...

The human ability to adapt amazes me. Whereas I got voted least likely to survive a zombie apocalypse during a game with friends last night. There wasn't even a debate 😅

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne – people are extraordinary, aren’t they at adapting … the human is just very capable, when it puts its mind to it.
Thanks … I just try and find or write about articles that others wouldn’t … and thankfully I can cook – so am grateful for that – you’re lucky you’ve got Ray!

@ Yam – yes ... your comment – it is as wide as any ocean upon this part of earth. I too am so grateful I can see, hear and speak … we are lucky, but by reading about these sorts of thing – we learn, don’t we? …

@ EC – that’s great – let me know if you can’t find the book. It makes an interesting read … I must get his earlier book written when he was losing his sight … but he’s definitely inspiring, and as you confirm humbles me too …

@ Marja – he certainly has shown us how things can be overcome … and the book is fascinating … and I think could inspire many, even those not blind. I found it really interesting …

@ Hels – yes I am very grateful for being healthy … and so appreciate and realise how others support those in need – albeit perfectly able to do so much for themselves.
The depression aspect is something we, in general, can struggle with … so I guess others’ encouragement is such an important role … while helping the person with their own mental approach … and that’s where positive thought is also an important component.

@ John – what a very interesting story – I love it … great tale to talk to people about … I love beetroot too! What a fun thought – that he could just carry on gardening regardless of the time of day – wonderful.

@ David – how very interesting … and what an opportunity to be a part of … something I’d love to see and help out with.
Your blind teens must have loved those walks you did with them, and they would have taught you so much – and I’m sure it was the best help you had on your walks. Then the learning gained from those who were blind as well as deaf.
Fascinating thanks for sharing with us …

@ Susan – yes Helen Keller was so inspiring and we are so lucky to be able to read or listen to her story – she definitely advocated for the blind and deaf. Thanks for reminding us about her.

@ Annalisa – I know the human ability to adapt is extraordinary isn’t it. How funny … I’d stay with your day life I was you – and not get involved with the zombies – sounds wiser!!

Thanks so much for visiting one of our #WATWB posts – we learn so much about life through these … loved your comments – thank you - Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

What an amazing person. Thanks for introducing him to us Hilary. I see the book is available at a very reasonable price on Amazon - one for my kitchen collection methinks!

Jacqui Murray said...

I have to check these out. With my current vision problems, I am worried about future sight. This gives me hope, Hilary!

Dan said...

What an amazing journey this man has made. It's uplifting to read about.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

How interesting, thank you for sharing this

Liz A. said...

I can't even imagine. Inspiring story.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith – that’s great the post inspired you to look at the book … it’s definitely worth it beyond the food included … just the way he’s worked things out as he became blind, and now as he’s blind … especially as he lost his wife just over a year ago.

@ Jacqui – I’d highly recommend it for you … especially the exercises he includes, and the way he’s labelled things … probably a good way to start using now … I hope you can get hold of a copy and take on board what he suggests …

@ Dan – yes … he has been on a journey and has a book out ‘Descent into Darkness’ about this journey. It is very uplifting to know about, as too read …

@ Jo-Anne – thank you … it’s good to know it resonated …

@ Liz – it’s worth thinking about … because we, as people with sight, can learn so much too …

Thanks for visiting and for being interested in the book – and the aspects for us to learn about their journey … it’d help us understand and perhaps be more empathetic to this disease. Have peaceful Memorial Days … Hilary

Anabel Marsh said...

Sounds like an inspiring story.

BWitzenhausen said...

Brilliant post! I have a few friends who are blind, two are successful painters, both have had numerous gallery shows and two are musicians who write and produce their own music. Cooking I would imagine would be much more of a challenge, I am impressed. Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB.Hope you have a wonderful week.

DMS said...

Wow! I can barely cook now and am impressed by anyone who is able to cook without being able to see. So inspiring!! Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Mason Canyon said...

It is amazing what people can do. Years ago when I worked for the small town newspaper where I lived, I did a weekly cooking feature. I had the pleasure of doing a feature on a gentleman that was blind and loved to cook. We were discussing steaks and he said he liked his medium rare. I asked (without thinking) how can you eat that with blood coming out of it. He laughed and said, "I don't see it." He encouraged me to order my next steak medium, close my eyes when it came to the table, have someone cut a piece for me and try it. Now that's the only way I like steaks and I always think of him every time I eat one.

D.G. Kaye said...

Wow, what devastation to have to endure, and then come out writing a book. Sounds amazing and I will definitely check out Simon's work. Hugs xx

bazza said...

It is truly incredible how the loss of any one sense can be compensated for by the other senses. Human Beings are really remarkable!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s suddenly strident Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anabel – it inspired me to write this and to buy the book.

@ Belinda – thank you … I know people can really overcome, or realise their visualisations for us, even though we cannot see. I was so interested to see how they’d cope and were able to cook – despite the lack of sight.

@ Jess – I enjoy cooking … so I suspect made me look at these special people … and yes definitely inspiring for us all.

@ Mason – your story is delightful … and the fact they have a sense of humour certainly definitely helps. I’m so pleased you followed your blind gentleman’s advice re his steak cooking – the way I like them too – now I’ll think of that story too – not to say I have steaks that often …

@ Debby – as I was mentioning above to Mason – we need sense of humours don’t we … so much can be overcome by sharing things … I’m so pleased you’ll check out his book …

@ Bazza – yes … that’s a good point – our other senses come into play and are more important to help us cope. We humans are extraordinary … if we are humble enough to realise we can open ourselves up to hope.

Thanks so much for visiting … lovely to have your comments – I’ll be Catching Rabbits for a while yet! Cheers - Hilary

Nilanjana Bose said...

How supercool inspirational is that?! The ability of humans to rise to mind boggling challenges never fails to amaze. Some story, some book!
Hope your week is going well.

Sandra Cox said...

OMgosh. What an extraordinary individual. FIRST CATCH YOUR RABBIT sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
Cheers,

retirementreflections said...

You had me before I even neared the end of your post.
I have added this book to my MUST READ list. Thank you for the recommendation.

Sarah Taylor said...

How inspiring! I love that it is less a cook book more a survivors manual! I hope you're well Hilary :) Isn't it a relief to see some sunshine! irevive.online

Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like such an inspiring story. I agree with everyone that it's not just about cooking. It's about how to handle the challenges we can face and not let them cripple us or our independence. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nila – that’s what I thought … the title inspired me too … and we can overcome so many things – I guess the first thing is to learn patience, and go carefully forward … and, exactly as you say … some story and some book …

@ Sandra – quite: OMgosh! That title drew me in – but on reading his advice in the book … it’s so much more …

@ Donna – I know … it sounds fun – even for the subject it’s covering … his advice is so sensible – I’m going to take on board some of his ideas – albeit my eyesight is extraordinary good for my age … he’s a wise man. Enjoy the read …

@ Thanks Sarah – it’s a fascinating read … and you picked up the aspect of being a survivor’s manual. It’s great we’ve got some sun at last … let’s hope it lasts …

@ Natalie – you’ve hit the nail on the head … it’s how we handle challenges, how we can face them, and also how we can keep our independence … so glad you appreciated the read …

Thanks to you all – it’s such a great title isn’t it – I need to get out and Catch My Rabbit – while the sun shines … stay safe everyone - Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

My second cousin was blind. He took a tour and said the guide described everything so well, he could see it in his mind.
Cheers,

JEN Garrett said...

I have a friend who was blind with a child who was not. She is an amazing person! She told me a few of her tricks and helps, but I don't think I knew the half of them.

cleemckenzie said...

What an inspiring story and the man obviously has an amazing sense of humor as well as stamina. I'm definitely buying this book by Mr. Mahoney. Thanks so much for the great post about him and his story today.

My grandmother lost her sight and it was terrible for her because she was a seamstress extraordinaire. I have great empathy for those who lose one of their senses, but as you say, people are resilient and can overcome all sorts of adversity.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Hilary!

What a touching story. And who better to write a book about surviving than someone who so desperately needed to? Writing the book was undoubtedly a part of his healing process. And now his book will help others. Outstanding ;-)
Thank you for sharing another gem of a post!

Sherry Ellis said...

It is amazing how well people can adapt when they lose one or more of their senses. Truly inspiring!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

It's amazing what we can achieve when we must. This is a super inspiring post. I love it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra – that was an interesting comment by your cousin – the guide was obviously very knowledgeable about the needs of his clients.

@ Jen – it is quite extraordinary how people can overcome … I so admire them. It’s perhaps something we should learn about … I’m glad you picked up on some of them …

@ Lee – yes … there seems to be humour there in bucket loads – I loved the way it’s written. So pleased you’ll be buying his book … I just had to pick it up …
How so sad to read about your grandmother … and how very sad to lose a ‘seamstress extraordinary’ through this disease. I really should get to know more about the effect of our senses in today’s world … we can overcome so much …

@ Diedre – thank you … the story is touching – he realised he could help others by writing up his stories of going blind, and now this one on cooking. He is managing as well as being inspirational to many … so glad you enjoyed it …

@ Sherry – it is extraordinary isn’t it … humans need to live and experience their senses – often heightened with the loss of one sense – so they can achieve so much.

@ Lynda – thank you … so pleased it inspired you … I was bowled over, when I learnt about Simon and his book …

Thanks so much to you all – and so delighted some of you will be buying his book … the exercises could help us all.
At last we have the sun – though perhaps thunderstorms arrive next!! Cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Propioception is a fascinating subject isn't it, Hils? It would make for a good, stand alone blog post.
Take special care.
Cheers,

Steve said...

Interesting post thanks for sharing

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I am always grateful for my eye sight, Hilary. I worked with a blind girl as she attended our town schools. She grew in poise and accomplishment. I truly admire her.

She attended a cooking school for the blind one summer and told me about it during the school year. Truly fascinating the summer classes she took on how she could survive on her own in a her sightless world.

Great post, as always! All best to you!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Losing my sight is the one thing that terrorizes me the most. I am such a VISUAL person. I admire ANYONE who can keep a sense of humor and live life after losing their sight. One of my favorite Interior designer clients is blind and she is such an amazing person. Designing her space was an incredible challenge and experience for me. We created, TOGETHER, a beautiful and functional space for her. Since I left the city, I think of her often. Such an amazing person who totally lives life to the fullest and even travels the world as a blind person... incredible.

Writing a book as a blind person is also incredible. God truly works in mysterious ways, and often gives us these challenges to make us better people or to help others with the same affliction, therefore helping ourselves in the process.

Hope all is well Hillary. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

H.R. Sinclair said...

What a fantastic book and a need one. And the cover is simply fantastic.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra – I agree ‘propioception’ would be well worth practising now – before we need it … I can definitely see the sense in it.

@ Steve – thank you for visiting …

@ Victoria – I know I’m just grateful for all my senses and for being able to cope with most things in life …
Your blind girl sounds like she’s taught a few lessons to people in the town. How interesting that she was able to tell you about the cooking school she attended … she must inspire so many …

@ Michael – yes losing my sight would be very difficult. How fascinating to read about your interior designer client, who is blind, and how she copes and can create her desires with you as her sight-man … I hope you’re able to stay in touch with her now you’ve left the city …
Yes – Simon acknowledges the help he has had … and his wife had his eyes when she was still alive … but it’s putting this book together, in his words, that makes so much sense for us, who are not impaired, to learn from …

@ Holly – it is an amazing book and well worth having one around … I agree – it was the cover that drew me in …

Thanks so much to you all – it’s interesting to think about and be aware of … have happy weeks ahead - Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Hope the sun is shining and you are having a wonderful weekend.
Cheers,

Sandra Cox said...

You are so right, Hils, people are amazing.
Cheers,

Sandra Cox said...

'When you have to do what you have to do.' Love it.
Cheers,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sandra ... eventually I got my act into gear - next post is up! But life is good, slow ... such is life in Covid times, warm days and tennis times ... thanks for the support ... cheers Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Definitely adding this book to my wishlist, Hilary, thank you! I have severe myopia and sometimes worry about going blind...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz - the exercises in the book are so well worth-while, I would think, to learn now - so I hope you can get your copy soon. It's a fun read ... albeit a serious one ...
Great to see you here ... cheers Hilary