By that blind woman, Julie Woods.
When I went blind in 1997 I was married with two boys, aged three and one. My mother always said “must was a great master” and when it came to feeding a family, she was right. But how was I going to be able to feed them when I had just gone blind? I could no longer read recipes or see the plates when I put them on the bench.
I asked for help at the Blind Foundation and they sent up an adaptive daily living instructor. She showed me how to butter a piece of bread and put jam on it. The next lesson was to pour a cup of tea. Slowly I began to move my focus from what I couldn’t see, to what I could smell, hear, taste and touch. For me, Cooking Without Looking was born. I learned to use my other senses more when identifying food, utensils and equipment.
Before long I was making casseroles in the oven and custards in the microwave. Sandwiches, cheese rolls and truffles all became part of my repertoire.
If I didn’t remember it in those early days then I didn’t bake it! That’s why I kept making my truffles. But then braille came into my life in 2001, when my husband left. I was suddenly in sole charge of my two boys, now aged seven and five. Braille became my new love and it assisted me greatly in the kitchen. I labelled my baking containers and I finally got my recipe books back – this time a folder where I could file my recipes that I had transcribed into braille.
20 years on and I still enjoy the kitchen. My elder son is now married and works in Greymouth as a policeman. He’s also now a Vegan so I’m often posting my Vegan chocolate cake over to them on the West Coast.
Even my cookie cutters are now labelled in braille. I have a large plastic box with different cookie cutter shapes including animals, hearts, Easter, Christmas, numbers, letters and also a red puppy cutter! My favourite use for the cutters is for making fairy bread for my husband’s grand children!
Julie Woods, also known as that blind woman, is an inspirational speaker, and the “Queen” of Cooking Without Looking.