Do I stop cooking?

To my fellow fighters, fight on or face reality? For the last several months my cognition has been slowed, and that's a nice way to say it. I have been cooking occasionally but have consistently started and then forgotten I was cooking. I don't realize it until the meal is cooked to a burned sticky mess. I am scared that I will start a fire. Has anyone else dealt with this and what did you do? For things that I can use a timer, that helps me remember. But it happens on things like heating up soup. Today, I was heating up lentils and forgot. Now they are burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan. Last week, I put a meal in the crock, it was to cook for 4 hours. Well, first I forgot to turn it on until my hubby asked if it was supposed to be cooking. Then I turned it on, forgot, and it cooked for 7 hours and was chicken jerky. These are just the two instances I can remember, there have been others.

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42 Replies

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  • Don't stop cooking just use some tools to help you remember. This is where the timer on my cell phone has been a life saver. I have to use it for everything. A kitchen timer would work too. I also use my phone to set reminders for EVERYTHING, meetings, appointments, no matter how small the task. I even have it set for things like to remind me to take meds, leave home for work on time, change the cat litter and water the plants each week. My husband used to think I was getting text messages all day because my phone was always dinging!

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I do use my phone for lots of reminders:, meds, appt, dogs meds, etc. Just didn't think to use it when I'm just popping soup on to heat. Lol

  • I use mine for as little as 2-3 minutes LOL because if I walk away............ you already know what happens.

  • I empathize with you, Karen-x. Speech therapist helped me find ways to cook (as I can't even seem to follow a recipe anymore), but I still serve burnt or raw food. I've set timers-note I didn't say a timer! But walking out of the kitchen to do something else, then forgetting about what's cooking in the kitchen-or that I left water running in the sink-still catches me off guard. My husband rescued a dish in the oven last night because I was in the garage and never heard the timer go off, let alone remember I had something in the oven! I'm trying to teach myself to not step foot out of the kitchen, or answer the phone, etc while cooking. But I still forget sometimes. Thankfully, my husband recently retired and is home when I cook. I don't put the energy or stress into cooking when he isn't here. Thankfully, he's happy with a sandwich. We eat a lot of those these days.

  • OH I have left the water running too and not be able to remember why even when I find it flowing. It makes me feel better to know I'm not alone. Thank you.

  • Hi Karen , do you have a microwave. Soup only takes 2.5 minutes and the bell goes off when ready. At least it won't be on the stove burning.

  • I do. I will have to make an effort to use that over the stove.

  • I just had the funniest thought about how many times I could potentially have to reheat my food if I walk away and don't hear the microwave! LOL hopefully hunger will stop the cycle from becoming like Groundhog Day

  • 😂

  • Lol. hey I have found my coffee in the microwave the next day!

  • I have issues with memory and balance. I had a very old cooker - only 2 rings out of 4 worked and the oven couldn't be switched off completely , it came on low every time you switched the power on ! In view of my forgetfulness/easily distracted probs and tendency to overbalance/put hands out to steady ( Ouch, if cooker is hot ! ) I decided to get rid and replaced it with a roomier freezer than the tiny one we had. I just have a microwave now - much safer ! I'm considering getting a 'slow cooker' that you can set time on and just forget about. I am on the lookout for a microwave cook book as I only know how to reheat things - I'm sure there is a lot more potential. The only surefire way to not burn food is to stay put while cooking - not always possible, I know : ) x

  • Angeline, try a ninja 4 in 1, you can use as stove top, oven, steamer or crockpot. I use for most all cooking. If meat I lightly fry in olive oil for flavor. Then add water and steam. I cook veggies in other dishes at same time.

  • Sounds good, I shall look this up, Angie. Thank you : ) x

  • I try hard not to go far from the kitchen if anything is cooking. And a timer is a must. I have one on my stove and one on my microwave, plus another handheld one. I use them very often. I cook much less than I used to. I don't do anything that involves putting very many ingredients together any more. Dinner tends to be a frozen entree or a top-of-the-stove packaged creation. Lunch is 6 oz. of yogurt and a few wheat crackers. Breakfast is orange juice, a cheese stick, and either cereal with milk or a toasted whole-wheat English muffin or slice of bread with butter or apple butter. I snack on peanut butter or nuts sometimes. I have fruit at bedtime, usually a banana plus a couple of cookies. I cook a fresh vegetable to go with dinner fairly often (broccoli, cauliflower, potato, squash, for instance). That's about it for my "cooking" these days. Those dinners get heated in the oven or sometimes the microwave. I load up on Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke all day instead of coffee because handling hot liquids isn't easy. But I've had MS a long time, and I did keep on cooking until about 8 years ago. I made a rather elaborate salad every day for lunch and cooked and froze my own vegetarian meals for dinner. I also made my own bread. All of that was taking quite a bit of energy and time, and nowadays I'm taking the easier path, even though it's more expensive.

  • Hi Agate, maybe I shouldn't share but here goes. Diet Coke and most diet drinks have aspartame in them which is a carcinogen but also my docotor says people with ms should not have any aspartame in their diet as it can make the ms conditions worse. Sharing because I care, Jimeka

  • I appreciate your concern. I wasn't advocating the way I eat for anyone else, and I know my intake of Diet Pepsi/Diet Coke may be doing some harm, but I had to weigh my options here. I found that caffeine makes me more alert--but drinking hot liquids is out. I'm supposed to drink a lot of liquids because of kidney issues. Also someone with MS who was a friend had hot coffee poured into his lap and had years of surgeries for skin grafts after that. He deteriorated badly as a result of those burns and surgeries and died a few years later. I'm very reluctant to take any chances on hot liquids because of the danger of burns.

  • I understand and I didn't think for one moment that you were advocating your diet, I just needed to share with you what my doctor told me. Anyhow I hope you have a lovely blessed weekend, it's raining cats and dogs here in the uk again, I won't be going out on my trike, both of my grandsons have come down with a virus, so it looks like it's going to be a chilled out one for me, take care, blessings Jimeka

  • Hi Karen-x 1st l suggest getting a new crock that has an Otto - shutoff ok l cant spell it, it's 5am lol but that helps me out alot when l need to cook. Most of the time my guy does all the cooking tho. Thank goodness. When he leaves tho its frozen meals or something quick and easy, so l dont forget.

    And make sure that the smoke detectors work :)

  • HA *auto that's the word l knew l would get it lol

  • Ditto to all of the above challenges and suggestions. When cooking it helps if I focus on only one thing at a time. No longer try to cook several things at once. Gather all ingredients first. Follow recipe step by step as if I'm constructing a complex time bomb and have post it and alarm reminders.

  • Hello! Please, don't get discouraged! I have had similar issues, and plenty of times. The issue is that I have children who want to eat everyday...can you believe it? 😂 To combat the "burning of things", I only cook on low heat. I also set timers on my stove, and/or phone. Fight this beast of a disease! Don't you give up! 👊🏾 I hope this helps. Blessings

  • I also have three teenagers that expect dinner every night, brats. Lol. I sat them down last night and told them I am having troubles cooking so they are going to have to start helping. They seemed OK with that but we will see when I try implementing it.

  • Will pray it all works out and that 'helping' them get started doesn't wipe you out. For some reason, my husband decided this week that he would pitch in with cooking. He picked apples off our tree and wanted me to teach him how to make an apple pie. I was exhausted and didn't feel like cooking dinner, let alone a pie! But we did it. Took twice as long as it would have taken me to make it alone, but he was so proud of himself-even sent pics to our kids, grandkids, his sister and our moms. It was delicious! I'm sure your kids will feel pride in whatever they cook and serve. And with 3 teens, it may become a competition to see who the better cook is! Thinking of you as you go through the training period.

  • I have to be honest, one of my 9yr young twins has been hooking me up! God knows, the child can cook!! She loves it! God provides what you need because her new skill is right in time! 🙌🏾

  • Teenagers? Absolutely they should be helping to cook. My oldest started cooking at 8, cause of back surgery. Supervised of course. But still lol

  • Wow! I do this all the time. Never thought it was MS related. I try to use my microwave timer and not go to far. But if I forget my dog comes and gives me "the look".

  • Awww, good dog.

  • I've been in the same experience . It comes and goes with me. Hopefully with you as well . Maybe you could cook when someone else is home with you.

    The cooking experience is usually paired with other cognitive situations (like leaving the keys in the ignition and coming into the house while the car runs.. forgetting ) . Perhaps you can look for patterns, document things?

  • Oh, and I leave the water running as well. That one makes me laugh.

  • If I do cook, I double the recipe and feeeze it in dinner-serving-size portions. Spaghetti (now using Prego or such and adding meat/spices to it), chili, stew, meatloaf and soups work really well. You can guess what we eat a lot of at our house. 😉That or sandwiches. Nothing beyond basic anymore...

  • These are some neurophyschological test that you may be able to find help with:

    Neuropsychological Testing

    Cognitive Evaluation

    Competency Evaluation, Especially for the Elderly

    Brain Rehabilitation

    There are others, but they are evaluated by a Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist.

  • Oh, one more thing... getting evaluated and tested might help with applying for disability

  • I can sure relate! The fog was an early symptom that really scared me. We have a little farm, and I was a multitasker, but I rarely forget something. I was canning tomatoes and remember staring at the canner, not having a clue as to what I was supposed to do next. I have had to slow down anyway, but I've realized I can't multitask anymore. No more stepping away from the kitchen to check laundry, etc.

    The good thing is that my husband really wanted me to can his favorite mincemeat, and when I told him I was afraid, he chipped in to help, which is a new thing for him. We got it done, and he has a new appreciation for all the work I've done in the kitchen. Hurrah!

    The hard part is changing my standards. I've always cooked from scratch, but we had takeout the other day. It didn't kill anyone, and it won't be the end of the world to change, but I felt I was letting everyone down. I still feel like I've been dropped in a bizarre alternate universe, and am having to learn everything all over again.

    I try to use the stove only when someone else is home. I have left water running and overflowing, but I get my exercise mopping up.

  • Sounds like me. We have a farmette and I always multitasked. But never cooked from scratch. I also worked full time with an hour commute from home. First time i knew i had a real issue was i didnt know what road ibwas on or how to get to work.

  • Karen, that scared me to death, too. Driving to the doctor's office 45 minutes away was a fright-filled experience. I had to give up driving for awhile because of it. I didn't want to wreck and feel responsible for potentially harming someone else. I hope you will feel more confident again.

  • My neuro said no more driving for me. I will sneak and drive to the store but that is a short distance. Now that I found Amazon Fresh, I don't need to go to the grocery. And my hubby drives me anywhere I want to go!

  • Oh man, that is scary! I have had this type of thing happen to me, going places I've always gone and all of a sudden not remembering how to get there. I was supposed to meet some friends at a restaurant that we frequent and I had to use my GPS because I sat in my car with no idea how to get there. I was embarrassed to tell them why I was late. It's happening more often than I care to admit nowadays.

  • Try not to worry about it happening as that makes it worse.

  • I wrote a reply to what you said, greaterexp, but my fat thumb hit cancel instead of submit reply! I hate it when that happens. Anyway, I just want to say that you said so many things I've experienced. It's so good to know we're (I'm) not alone. God bless our husbands and kids who may be struggling to find their way through all of these changes too...

  • Amen! I'm so very grateful that my husband and youngest son are always ready to pitch in, and they do it cheerfully, even though I know they are grieving and bewildered, too.

  • Karen-x, it's MSFighter welcoming you to this wonderful chat room! If nothing else you will learn from the sheer number of replies but I fear that we are a source of endless ideas. Welcome you to bring questions and concerns, just like you did with your cooking. 26 place and we pride ourselves in offering you positive ideas that you can pick and choose from.

    I have a question for you to start my reply off with. Do you plan to keep on eating? If so well then the answer becomes pretty obvious. We have to figure out ways for you to outsmart your cognitive issues and still allow you to function safely in the kitchen.

    1.Start out by simplifying your recipes. Don't tackle anything very complicated that doesn't cook quickly. An example for lunches , when you're home alone by yourself, get soup you can microwave for 2 minutes and be done, then stand there and wait on it. Get little frozen meals when you're by yourself that you can pop in the microwave for 3 minutes and be done and you don't have to walk away from it, etc

    2.Do you have any close neighbors , friends, for family that could assist you with helping to put meals you want to create as an example in your Crock-Pot together. You could set a timer on your end and they could set a timer on their end when the four hours is up they could call you to check on the progress of your meal or stop by to check on it and you!. It would be like cooking with a buddy.

    3. Use timers all the time, not only let you know when something is finished but use a timer to remind you just to go to the kitchen to check on the progress of let's say your lentil soup. When the timer goes off you know you need to go to the kitchen and check the stove.

    With all the replies I noticed two you're concerned about your cooking I'm sure you've received dozens more than the ones I gave you. Just consider what you can handle and keep yourself safe. That's the most important thing right now. Do not be afraid to make a network of friends and family and even neighbors to assist you keeping yourself safe and this instance cooking. if you spread the days of the week around where a relative gets you on Monday and a neighbor get you on Tuesday and a friend get you on Wednesday Etc. no one will feel overwhelmed in assisting you to cook.

    I hope some of our ideas prove useful. Please let us know which ones help the most as we can then pass those along to other MSER'S! Remember together we are stronger. I'm glad you joined this chat room. Please keep in touch and let us know how your cooking goes. We are concerned about you and we do care, and we've all been there with our own MS issues.

  • Oh by the way Jess a comment about getting a new crock pot without auto shut off on it is brilliant. Tell your husband if he wants to eat non-rubberized or jertkified meat (I think I just created a new word!) Haha, he needs to buy you one.

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