As a single mother I prepared home cooked meals daily for my children. As I began to lose my vision, I experienced some new challenges in the kitchen. Over the years I have had some assistance marking my kitchen appliances and training in regards to independent living skills as a person who is blind. To this day, I still have much to learn in the kitchen. When learning a new cooking/baking skill, I often turn to my peers in the blind community for tips and suggestions. Prior to writing this article, I had yet to try the skill of separating egg whites. This task seemed daunting to me. However, I took it upon myself for this project to experiment in the kitchen with referring to three different methods of separating eggs.
There are three methods I have chosen to try in the kitchen to separate eggs, wearing a blindfold. After I have experimented with the various ways to separate eggs, I will share my experience. According to Ruth Schroeder and Doris Willoughby in their article “Suggestions for the Blind Cook”, there are many viable ways to separate egg whites. I will refer to the Schroeder and Willoughby (1985) suggestion for separating eggs as Method 1 for the purposes of my experiment in the kitchen. Schroeder and Willoughby (1985) describe a method to separate eggs: “…break the shell into two unequal parts; lift off and discard the small end; and then drain off the white” (Pouring, Draining, and Mixing, para.9).
The authors further mention there is a kitchen tool you can purchase that separates eggs. I personally had never heard of a kitchen tool that can separate egg whites, and so I did a little investigating. When gathering information for this small project, I reached out to a couple of my peers in the blind community and asked them how they separate eggs. When discussing this topic with my friend Donna Hudon, she shared with me how she has the kitchen gadget that separates eggs. Using an egg separator tool to separate eggs is the second method I have chosen to use for my experiment in the kitchen. Donna described how she places the kitchen tool over a cup and cracks an egg over the egg separator. The object is for the egg yoke to rest in the strainer part of the egg separator tool, and the egg whites drip down through the holes of the strainer (D. Hudon, personal communication, February 13, 2021). I was curious about the egg separator kitchen gadget because I had not only never heard of this tool before, but I was trying to picture what the tool looked like. I then searched the internet and discovered that I could purchase one at Walmart for under twenty dollars. For the purposes of this project, I would have purchased the tool and also would have it to use in my kitchen. After discussing this project with a family member, I found that this family member had an egg separator tool that I could borrow. I was very excited to try learning a new skill, as well as finding a possible new tool for my kitchen.
I spoke with another friend, Amber Thomas, who is also blind. Amber enjoys baking and I thought she might have some suggestions regarding separating eggs. In conversation with Amber, she noted that she has used a similar kitchen egg separator tool as described above. However, Amber shared with me that her preferred method is to use her hands when separating eggs. Amber shared her experience of using an egg separator tool and that if she doesn’t crack the egg directly over the strainer of the egg separator tool, the egg yoke tends to seep through the holes along the side of the strainer. Amber’s suggestion for separating eggs: “a) Crack an egg into a bowl b) Gently feel around in the bowl, and use fingers to scoop under the egg yoke, thus leaving the egg white in the bowl c) Hold yoke in hand and gently wiggle back and forth with fingers slightly separated until all egg whites are gone”, is the third method I have chosen to try when separating eggs (A. Thomas, personal communication, February 15, 2021).
I was eager to try these three different methods to separate eggs, and see how I would do as a beginner attempting a new skill in the kitchen. I prepared my work area in the kitchen to try each of the above methods under blindfold. Starting with the first method, I attempted this task three times. The first time, the egg yoke along with the whites slipped out of the egg shell. After two more attempts, I did not have much improvement. To accomplish this method of separating eggs, I may need some instruction from an independent living skills teacher.
When using the egg separator kitchen tool, I was rather proud of myself. On the first attempt to use this tool, I managed to crack the egg over the strainer of the tool. However, as my friend Amber described, the egg yoke somehow managed to seep through the sides of the strainer. I attempted to separate eggs using the kitchen tool a couple more times, and to no avail I experienced the same result, with the egg yoke slipping through the sides of the strainer.
When attempting the third method of separating eggs, I was successful on the first try! This method may be a little messier, but I was able to feel the egg yoke and easily followed the instructions of slightly separating my fingers and gently wiggling my fingers until the egg whites are in the bowl, and only the egg yoke was in my hand. To ensure that it wasn’t just a fluke, I tried this method of separating eggs a couple more times, and each time I was successful in separating the whites from the egg yoke.
I enjoy cooking, and the more skills I can learn under blindfold, the more confident I become in the kitchen as a person who is blind. I may not bake very often, but I am happy to have tried to learn a new skill. In terms of separating eggs, I prefer the third method I tried when separating eggs. A method that works for one person may not work for another person. There are many different ways of learning and doing things. I appreciate that life is a journey, full of learning and growing. Perhaps, now that I have learned to separate eggs, I may be interested in trying learning more skills in the kitchen. Who knows? Perhaps I will surprise myself and my family and get into baking. I would like to thank my peers and friends in the blind community, as I have so much to learn from each one of you.
Separating eggs from their whites is just one of the many skills that students will learn in the cooking and home management class at the Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre. If you haven’t yet had the chance to help us to make the centre a reality, we encourage you to spread the word about the project and why it is important and, if you are able, to make a donation. Together we can build the centre, and ensure all Canadians who are blind and Deafblind have the skills to live independently with dignity and respect.
Schroeder, R. & D. Willoughby (1985). Suggestions for the blind cook. Future Reflections, 4 (3), Retrieved from https://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr04/issue3/f040304.html