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The Fingerless Kitchen

The Fingerless Kitchen came from an idea that a good friend and I came up with about four years ago. We wanted to create a cookbook to teach people with disabilities how to cook, and maybe share our ideas with others who are not disabled.  At that time in my life, I was not really ready for making the idea a reality. So, you can say life recently gave me a big nudge to go in a different direction -- and I decided on doing something about it and go big

 

There is so much that surrounds us with food, from where we eat to the people that we share meals with, from the recipes we pass on for generations to the traditions of the farms where our foods are grown. Good food is the cornerstone of many cultures. We share stories and we share life. We find pleasure, frustration, laughter, pain, friendship, and love all around the foods we eat. Since we, as people, grow, nurture, prepare, eat, and share wonderful foods we keep age-old traditions alive. This site is all about just that. Sharing the best of food, culture and building relationships as I journey to discover a new connection to where our food comes from, meet new people, challenge myself and push boundaries of my disability.

 

All people have their challenges. Each person's challenges are unique to them and I am no exception! I have a very different disability, and for most people, when they first see me, they feel it’s a bit strange. I was born with a condition called Ectrodactyly. Doctors have considered my particular variation severe and it has left me with only one finger on each hand and one toe on each foot.Though for me the Fingerless Kitchen is my everyday reality and it's just me, I am hoping to inspire and ignite a belief in you, whether you have disabilities or not, that you can have a full life. So laugh a little, say yes to trying new things and get out of your oh-so-comfy-comfort-zone by joining me on a journey through my most personal life, and my struggles with having only two fingers. I’ll show you how I found success in the kitchen and am finding the courage to open my own catering company. I will share personal stories, my recipes, raise awareness, interview farmers and producers, stories of my adventures of opening my own business and how I find the courage to change directions and make my life amazing.

 

When you truly Live, Eat and Love well every day, wonderful things can happen.

 

Wishing You Joy, from the Fingerless Kitchen ~

Bryony Grealish

Syracuse, NY

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~

My Origin Story

Bryony Grealish

Growing up, I lived in a red Queen-Anne style Victorian home with a wheel-chair ramp in front for my dad. The house was located in the Westcott Street Nation neighborhood in Syracuse, New York. This is where I spent most of my life. I was a four-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl loving life and her family, much like most kids do. When I was little, I was not really aware of how different I was from other kids. I was just me, Bryony, and what was wrong with that?  

 

One warm, sunny day in the summer, I was playing with a ball out in the yard while my mom watched from the porch. A couple of neighborhood kids were walking down my tree-lined street, about to pass in front of my house. They stopped when they saw me playing and approached me because they saw that I did not have many fingers. One of the kids asked me, “What happened to your hands?”

 

Out of my four-year old brain came an awesome answer! In a very serious and matter-of-fact way, I replied, “A lion bit them off in the jungle.” The kids were shocked! I did not understand why I had only two fingers, but at the time that seemed like the best way to explain it.

Those kids thought I was so awesome. They could not believe that I had been to the jungle.  I had met up with a lion and lived to tell the tale. Oh, and what a tale it was! I was a total four- year-old bad-ass.

 

I’ve kind had to be bad-ass all my life. As you can imagine, in my life, every single day, from figuring out how to button up my shirt to dealing with ignorant people who treat me with disrespect, I’ve had hourly, minute-by-minute, daily challenges. I’ve had to learn to do everything that comes easily for others, when it’s been awfully hard for me, and deal with others’ reactions to me doing those things at the same time.

 

As you can imagine, figuring out to cope in the kitchen with just two fingers was one of my proudest accomplishments!

 

 
"You only have one life. Let it not be wasted trying to fit into someone else's mold."

~ Bryony Grealish ~

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