Using a Flat-Top Stove After Vision Loss

woman who is blind safely using a flat-topped stove

One of the most widely used items found in kitchens today is a flat-top stove. Flat-top stoves do not have to be a nightmare for people living with blindness. While they do present some unique challenges, they can be more beneficial than using a coil-top stove because they are easy to clean, and level surfaces provide more stability for pots.

When using a flat-stove stove, use pots and pans that have flat bottoms to increase level placement and even cooking. Pots that are weighted to increase stability are recommended.

Not all flat-top stoves are set up in the same way. Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists can teach you safe techniques for determining burner placement and if the stove is on.

Remember to always observe the general rules of safe cooking, such as turning off the heat before moving a pot or skillet and clearing the stovetop before use. Always think safety first.

Flat-Top Stove Hints

Centering a Pan

Try to remain aware of your body position whenever you work at the stove. Keep your body aligned with the front edge of the stovetop.

Before you start, check if any burners are on by using the "safety zone" technique to scan the stovetop:

  • Bend your arm so that your forearm is across your chest. Touch your opposite shoulder with your fingertips.
  • Extend your arm and extend it out in front of your body, still at shoulder height.
  • Lower your arm slowly, passing it over the stovetop area, feeling for any heat. Don't lower your arm past your midriff.
  • If you can't feel any heat, the stovetop is safe to work on.

Here are some techniques to help you center a pot on your flat glass or ceramic cooktop:

  • In many cases, using the "safety zone" technique to scan the stovetop and feel the heat can give you an accurate idea of the location of the burner.
  • You can measure the distance from the front and side edges of the stovetop to the burner with a wooden spoon, chopstick, or other long-handled utensil.
  • Mark the distance(s) on the handle with tape, a filed notch, or marking material such as a Hi-Mark Tactile Pen, Maxi-Marks, or a Spot 'n Line Pen. You can find more information about these marking materials at Labeling and Marking.
  • Place the pot on the stovetop and use the measurements on the utensil to check that the front and side edges of the pot are centered on the burner.

These tips are courtesy of the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Listserv. Used with permission.

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