Resources Gallery

This is a comprehensive resource guide to terms used in this website, including grips and grasps, task analysis designations, weights and measures, fundamental kitchen equipment, shopping and time saving strategies, and basic cooking definitions.

Grips and Grasps

These grips and grasps, or prehension, are frequently referred to in the lesson guides and are important to understand because they transfer from cooking skills to academic and other fine motor skills, such as writing. Manipulative grasps vary based upon the size, shape, and weight of the object held, how that object will be used, and the sensory feedback received. The two types of prehension are power grips and precision grips, and the activity determines which grip ought to be used.

Power grip: Power grips are used when an object needs to be forcefully held and involves a significant amount of force. Typically, the fingers flex around the object in one direction and the thumb in the other, providing a counter force which keeps the object firmly set in the hand. Three major power grips are the cylindrical grip, spherical grip, and hook grip. A cylindrical grip has all fingers flexed around the object, which lies at a right angle to the forearm. The thumb is wrapped around the object in the opposite direction. This grip is used while holding a hammer, wheelbarrow, etc. A variation on the cylindrical grip could be used on a golf club or screwdriver. A spherical grip has all fingers and thumbs abducted around an object, and the fingers are more spread apart than in a cylindrical grip. The palm of the hand is not always touching the object. Holding an apple or a doorknob involves a spherical grip, as does picking up a glass or unscrewing a jar. A hook grip has fingers two through five flexed around an object in a hooklike manner. The thumb in usually not involved, so this is the only power group possible if a person has no ability to oppose the thumb. This grip is used when holding onto a handle, such as a suitcase or bucket. 

Precision grip: Precision grips hold the object between the tips of the fingers and thumb, providing fine movement and accuracy. The object is typically small, and the palm not involved. Two main types of precision grips are the tripod grasp and the lumbrical (plate) grip. A pinch grip involves the thumb and one finger, usually the index finger. It is used to manipulate very small objects with a high degree of accuracy. A modification is the tripod grasp, which is also known as the three-jaw chuck grip. It involves the thumb and two fingers, usually the index and middle fingers. It is used to hold a pen or pencil and is the most common precision grip. The lumbrical grip has the thumb opposing the fingers to hold an object horizontally. It is commonly used in cooking, to hold an object such as a plate or a tray. Visual input from the eyes and sensory input from the hand must be coordinated to keep the object from spilling its contents. Having practice and confidence with the plate grip is very helpful in every day life, from passing sides at dinner to carrying a tray at lunch time. 

For more information about grips and grasps, check out Clinical Kinesiology for Physical Therapist Assistants by Lynn S. Lippert which is available here.

Flipping pancake

Task Analysis Designations

Task Analysis Designations
These terms are often utilized in deciding the difficulty level of a recipe or skill set. They are modified from Task Analysis: An Occupational Performance Approach by Diane E. Watson which can be found here.

Activities of Daily Living: with regard to feeding and eating, includes setting up food, selecting and using appropriate utensils and tableware, bring food or drink to mouth, cleaning face, hands, and clothing, chewing and swallowing, and management of alternative methods of nourishment.

Home Management Activities: are purposeful activities for self-development, social contribution, and livelihood. Meal preparation and cleanup involves planning nutritious meals, preparing and serving food,  opening and closing containers, cabinets and drawers, using kitchen utensils and appliances, cleaning up, and storing food safely. Shopping includes preparing shopping lists, selecting and purchasing  items, selecting method of payment, and completing money transactions. Safety procedures are knowing and performing preventive and emergency procedures to maintain a safe environment and to prevent injuries. 

Vocational, Productive, and Leisure Activities: Vocational activities are participating in work-related activities, which are strengthened by determining aptitudes, developing interests and skills, and selecting appropriate vocational pursuits. Play or leisure performance includes identifying interests, skills, opportunities, and appropriate activities, as well as maintaining a balance of play or leisure activities with work and productive activities and daily living. 

Sensorimotor Performance Components: are the ability to receive input, process information, and produce output. Sensory awareness is receiving and differentiating sensory stimuli, while processing is interpreting the stimuli. Tactile interpretation includes light touch, pressure, temperature, pain, and vibration. Proprioceptive is stimuli originating in muscles, joints, and internal tissues. Vestibular is interpreting stimuli from inner ear receptors about head position and movement. Visual is stimuli from the eyes, including peripheral vision and acuity and awareness of color. Auditory involves distinguishing between background sounds and localizing sounds, gustatory interpreting tastes, and olfactory interpreting odors. 

Perceptual Processing: is organizing sensory input into meaningful patterns. Stereognosis is identifying objects through proprioception, cognition, and the sense of touch, and kinesthesia is identifying joint movement. Right-left discrimination is differentiating one side from the other, form constancy is recognizing forms and objects as the same in various environments, positions, and sizes, and spatial relations is determining the positions of objects relative to each other.

Neuromusculoskeletal and Motor Coordination: include reflex, range of motion, strength, etc. Gross coordination is using large muscle groups for goal-directed movements, laterality is using a preferred unilateral body part for activities requiring a high level of skill, bilateral integration is coordinating both body sides during activity, praxis is planning a new motor act in response to an environmental demand, and visual-motor integration is coordinating the interaction of visual information from the eyes with body movement. 

Various Psychosocial Skills: interacting in society and processing emotions are imperative while cooking in a kitchen setting. Examples could involve personal interests, role performance, social conduct, interpersonal skills, self-expression, coping skills, time management, and self-control. 

Fundamental Kitchen Equipment

This is a list of pans, gadgets, and bakeware that a well-stocked kitchen should include, from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Accordingly, it will vary based on need, recipes to be cooked, and ability. Check out this article about adaptive cooking tools for more ideas.

Preparation and Cooking Gadgets:

  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener, preferably one that leaves smooth edges
  • Chef’s knife or plastic lettuce knife
  • Clear liquid measuring cup, with large labels or angled top
  • Colanders, over the sink or expandable
  • Grader/shredder, with enclosed blades
  • Kitchen scissors or shears
  • Kitchen timer
  • Ladle
  • Thermometer
  • Pancake turner, spring-loaded tong type
  • Paring knife or peeler
  • Pasta server
  • Plastic cutting board, with plastic grips
  • Rolling pin
  • Rubber spatulas
  • Set of dry measuring cups
  • Set of measuring spoons
  • Set of mixing bows, with handles or grips
  • Slotted spoon
  • Tongs
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Wooden spoons

Range-Top Cookware

  • 4 or 6-quart covered pot or kettle
  • 1-quart covered saucepan
  • 2-quart covered saucepan
  • 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 6 or 8-inch skillet
  • 10-inch ovenproof skillet with cover
  • 12-inch skillet
  • Nonstick skillet


  • 2-quart rectangular baking dish
  • 3-quart rectangular baking dish
  • 2-quart square baking dish
  • 9x9x2-inch baking pan
  • 15x10x1-inch baking pan
  • 8×1.5-inch round baking pan
  • 9×1.5-inch round baking pan
  • Baking sheet
  • Deep dish casserole
  • Custard cups
  • Muffin pan
  • 9-inch pie plate
  • Pizza pan
  • Roasting pan with rack

Shopping and Time-Saving Strategies

Taking individuals with disabilities on a trip to the grocery store may seem like a daunting task, but grocery shopping is an important activity of daily life. A successful shopping trip can help to build confidence, independence, and a greater understanding of the connection between raw ingredients and a finished, edible product. Here are some tips for stress-free grocery shopping

  • Organize a list of items needed before heading to the store
  • Practice planning menus for multiple meals, deciding how many people will eat each meal
  • Reference the Food Guide recommendations while planning meals, balancing food types, colors, and textures for each meal
  • Look through newspaper ads for special deals or coupons, and practice incorporating into the dishes
  • Shop while the store isn’t likely to be crowded, giving more room for maneuvering, discovering new foods, and reading nutrition labels
  • Distinguish between impulse buying and bargain hunting: are you likely to use the food on a regular basis, or is the appeal strictly monetary?

Strategies for efficient cooking

  • Read all recipes thoroughly before starting to cook, making sure all steps are fully understood
  • Collect ingredients before beginning to assure that you have all the necessary ingredients and tools, making special arrangements if you’re missing anything
  • Preheat the oven first with any baking recipe
  • Stagger cooking steps, preparing other ingredients while waiting
  • Figure out which convenience products can be substituted into recipes, such as shredded cheese, minced fresh garlic, refrigerated dough, cubed meat, etc.
  • Chill ingredients ahead of time if there is extra refrigerator space
  • Concentrate on a main recipe, and add simpler sides such as steamed vegetables or fresh fruit

Basic Cooking Definitions

  • Al dente literally “to the tooth,” pasta cooked this way is cooked enough to maintain a firm texture, slightly chew
  • Bake to cook food using the dry heat of an oven
  • Beat to make a mixture smooth by whipping or stirring
  • Blend to combine ingredients until smooth and uniform in texture
  • Boil to cook food in liquid at a temperature that causes bubbles to form in the liquid
  • Chill to cool a food to below room temperature
  • Chop to cut food into smaller pieces with a knife, cleaver, etc.
  • Coat to evenly cover food with crumbs, flour, or batter
  • Crush to smash food such as seasoning to release flavor and aroma
  • Dash a measure equal to 1/16 teaspoon
  • Dip to immerse food for a short time in a liquid or dry mixture
  • Fold a method of gently mixing delicate ingredients, using a rubber spatula
  • Fry to cook food in hot cooking oil or fat
  • Grate to rub food, such as cheese, across a grating surface to make very fine pieces
  • Grease to coat a utensil with a thin level of fat or oil
  • Grind to mechanically cut a food into small pieces
  • Juice the natural liquid extracted from fruits or vegetables
  • Knead to work dough with the heels of your hands in a pressing and folding motion until smooth and elasti
  • Measure to determine the quantity or size of a food or utensil
  • Melt to heat a solid food until it becomes liquid
  • Mix to stir until thoroughly combined
  • Moisten to add enough liquid to a dry ingredient to make it damp but not runny
  • Precook to partially or completely cook a food before using in a recipe
  • Preheat to heat an oven or utensil to a specific temperature before using it
  • Roast a large piece of meat or poultry
  • Saute to cook or brown a food in a small amount of hot fat
  • Simmer to cook a food in liquid that is kept just below the boiling point
  • Steam to cook a food in water vapor from boiling water
  • Stew to cook a food in liquid for a long time until tender
  • Stir to mix ingredients with a spoon to combine them or to cool them after cooking
  • Toss to mix ingredients lightly by lifting and dropping them using two utensils
  • Whip to beat a food lightly and rapidly using a wire whisk to incorporate air into the mixture and increase its volume