Features January 2004 Issue

Kitchen Helpers

We test six gadgets designed to ease arthritis pain.

In coping with arthritis, it’s best to keep your body as strong as possible by trying to do things yourself. But when you’re in pain, assistive devices can help you do tasks faster and more efficiently.

Nowhere is this more true than in the kitchen, where an abundance of tasks—slicing, dicing, handling pots, opening cans, jars, boxes and bottles—faces you.

Dozens of companies offer self-help devices for the kitchen, from jar openers to special scissors to lightweight cutlery designed to reduce strain on your hands. These companies (six of our favorites are at right) also offer devices for a variety of other tasks.

We tried a half-dozen gadgets from the Easy Street Co., a leading supplier of self-help devices. What functions do they help you perform? How well do they do the job? Check out our findings in the chart.

In the meantime, here are some kitchen tips you can put to use right now: Use electric appliances whenever you can, buy healthful prepared foods and convenience items, place your mixing bowl on a damp cloth while you stir and hold the spoon like a dagger to take the stress off your hands, use non-stick sprays, foil and disposable baking pans to make cleaning up easier.