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Chef Mary

Hello there! Welcome to Mary’s Cafe. Our specialties include macaroni and cheese, cauliflower crust pizza, and waffles with fried eggs. Take a seat and enjoy!

Before my injury, I loved to cook. I was always looking up new gluten-free recipes on Pinterest and trying them out. Since my SCI, I haven’t done much in the way of cooking. I typically find the recipes then direct Mom how to cook them.  I thought cooking would be pretty much impossible with only one hand. Turns out I was wrong!

When I was at Shriners rehabbing after my tendon transfer, my OTs, Justine and Sarah, had me in the kitchen chopping veggies and baking cookies to strengthen my arm back up. My kitchen creations there inspired me to try cooking at home, too. They gave me a rocker knife and helped me find a single-handed cutting board, pictured below. I highly recommend both of these products for amputees or anyone with paralysis in one arm/hand.  

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For the past several weeks, I’ve been participating in a coaching study with two OT Doctoral students at Jefferson, Bernadette and Taylor. The gist of the study is that I set a handful of feasible goals and the students check in with me every week to see my progress. So far, it’s been a great experience!

One of my goals has been to continue gaining independence in the kitchen and since our kitchen is not very wheelchair-friendly right now — hence the dent in the fridge — we made my own little kitchen! I feel like I’m back in my Temple dorm room circa 2013 with a mini-fridge and toaster oven right in my bedroom. My menu is not very extensive yet, but I’ve independently cooked myself breakfast and lunch several times so far. Trader Joe’s gluten-free macaroni and cheese is my current go-to. Yum. 

It feels good to be taking little steps toward more independence like making some of my own meals. My next step is to add a Keurig to my makeshift kitchen so I can make coffee or tea whenever a craving hits. I always need that 2 pm caffeine boost. If you ever need one, stop by my cafe and I’ll whip you up something nice.

As always, thanks for reading. Talk soon.