Most who are following a strict, medically mandated gluten free diet know only too well the fallout from accidentally ingesting gluten. Try as hard as you might, most at some point will consume some amount of gluten without even knowing it until symptoms begin to appear on your way to becoming sick.
I am going to break unsuspecting places for gluten to hide into two groups: at home and eating out. First, let’s look at the home environment. Some of us with only one or two people in family opt to have a dedicated gluten free kitchen. Having a kitchen that is totally void of gluten is easier for me than segregating equipment and products into two distinct categories is simply easier. However, for those households with children, some of whom may not be Celiac or gluten intolerant living along side those who are, the situation is completely different.
Gluten sometimes lurks in the quirkiest of places in home kitchens that handle both gluten free and regular eaters. Here are just a few to chew on:
- Mix Masters: Let’s face it; these babies are expensive. Having two is not only cumbersome to handle space wise, but are costly. Even if you have a dual set of bowls and beaters, gluten laden dough particles can be flung against the arm of the machine, dry and then fall off during the preparation of gluten free recipes. The solution is to thoroughly clean the machine every time it is used.
- Non-dedicated utensils: Porous utensils such as wooden spoons and dough boards are notorious for allowing “stuff” to hang out even after going through the dishwasher.
- Dust from wheat flour: The very fine dust from any flour can linger in the air for a long time. And, because of gravity, that fine dust will land on something. In the kitchen, that something is gluten free food. For some people, that small amount of gluten is enough to make them sick. This is also one reason restaurants often have a disclaimer even on their gluten free menus about products being made all day with wheat flour.
- Fabric: Aprons and dish towels can also harbor gluten if used simultaneously when both gluten laden foods and gluten free foods are prepared in the same kitchen.
- Hands: Hand washing is a must in any food preparation, especially for people preparing dual foods in the same kitchen. Never handle gluten free foods, utensils, bowls, dinnerware, glassware, etc. without thoroughly washing your hands.