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Do you want to keep 70% gluten free/30% gluten (or any other combo) kitchen? Then you need to know how to negate cross-contamination in a shared kitchen.
Gluten Free + Gluten Household
We initially went 100% gluten free because it was easier, even though only one of us (our daughter) needed to be gluten free due to having Celiac Disease. Our son balked at it (he’s picky and hates change) and our grocery budget went nuts, but ultimately it was the easiest in the beginning. *I highly recommend doing this when you or a loved one you cook for is diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I would say that doing this for at least 2-3 months while you are still figuring everything out will make all the difference later on.
After several months (probably 6+) we started allowing gluten back into our house. We chose only to allow pre-packaged gluten items (snacks, pizza, bread, buns, etc – mostly for our son). Fortunately, our kids don’t really like the same things so it makes it easy. Also, our daughter is 13 and knows not to eat those items (granted she doesn’t like them anyway, but I do think her age helps here). Again, this is easier for us because of the age of our kids. I’m not sure this would work with a toddler. You know your kiddo better than I do so I think it is a judgment call for each family.
I would say our house has about a 95% gluten free/5%gluten ratio now and that seems to work for us. All of our family meals are gluten free with the exception of pizza night where our daughter gets her own, and the rest of us have a regular pizza. We do this primarily because I refuse to make multiple meals (makes me nuts), but I know people who do separate meals and if that works for you, then go for it.
I still make my teenagers’ primary lunch item (usually a sandwich or leftovers). I know they are capable, but I like to do it so don’t judge :). When I make my sons (he has the gluten stuff) I lay a paper towel down or plate down and then make his sandwiches on that. Afterward, I wipe the surface down with an Enviro cloth from Norwex and wash my hands. Now you might be wondering why I make his first instead of our daughters, well he leaves first for school so that’s just what I do. You could always make the gluten free lunch first and then the others if that works for you.
When we have pizza I always cut the gluten free pizza first because we have only one pizza slicer. This normally isn’t an issue for us because hers always cooks faster (thinner crust) than the gluten pizza. You could also have two pizza slicers and label them, but for me, I know I would make a mistake (I’m awesome like that).
To Share or Not to Share
What about pots, pans, cookware, etc? Just don’t do it! It’s not worth the risk. I bake a lot and have cookware that “could” be shared (glass) but I won’t do it. When I bake, I only make gluten free items, I do this so everyone can eat it. I never want my daughter to feel different in her own home. I know it can be costly, but there are ways to work with that.
You should never share pots or pans that are coated in Teflon or some other non-stick coating. Gluten can hide in the scratches (not all scratches are visible) so you could inadvertently make your Celiac sick.
When it comes to the toaster, you shouldn’t share that either. I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to get EVERY crumb out of the toaster so just don’t risk it. They are rather cheap so if you want to be able to toast gluten free and gluten bread just buy another toaster or toast it in the oven (yes it takes longer, but it works). I have recently read about toaster bags that prevent cross-contamination but have never used them. Personally, I would only use them while traveling (not a fan of waste where I can prevent it).
I have a decent sized kitchen so I could store duplicate items if I wanted, but the key here is “if I wanted”, which I don’t. Honestly, I don’t trust myself to not have an oops moment. Dinner time is normally a bit chaotic for me. Kids and animals (we are pet people and have 5, lol) are “underfoot” if you will plus the hubs is normally walking in the door during that time too (basically mass chaos from 5-6pm in our house). I know I would make a mistake and have to get a new pan so I just don’t. It creates stress and anxiety for me so it’s a no go.
I do know people who do it and it works for them. Only you can make that decision and whatever you chose is awesome! I won’t judge. It is hard enough to navigate food restrictions without everyone being all judgy.
The key is to clean up after you have gluten out. You don’t need to sanitize because gluten isn’t a germ (yes it’s the devil when you have Celiac, but still not a germ), you just need soap and water or an Enviro cloth (only need water). You could even have a dedicated mat that you use or basically anything that visually triggers you to clean up after.
We’ve had to remind our son to wipe down the counter after he gets his oatmeal because he does make a mess. He’s half asleep and not really paying attention to what he’s doing. I don’t mind the mess, just the fact he doesn’t clean it up. Just one little speck of gluten (basically even an invisible to the naked eye crumb) can make a Celiac sick depending on their sensitivity level.
There are times I sing the “clean up” song (a throwback to my kids’ toddler days) in my head while I’m wiping down the counter, lol. You’re welcome, I know you now have that stuck in your head :). But seriously, I know it is a pain to not wait until all the morning lunch prep is done and then clean it all, but you just can’t if you want to have a dual kitchen.
I would love to hear how you keep a dual kitchen as I am always looking for different ways to refine and improve my day-to-day!