The kitchen in my house is 100% glutenfree. This is to prevent gluten residues from contaminating my glutenfree meals. The glutenfree diet (followed for medical reasons) needs to be very strict in order to be effective. One crumble of wheat bread is enough to cause autoimmune reaction in Celiacs’ intestines. This is why we chose for glutenfree environment in our house. I don’t have to worry about gluten contamination on a daily basis. Home is the only place where I can feel fully safe with my food.
There are, however, situations when a glutenfree meal needs to be prepared in a not glutenfree environment
- when you need to share kitchen with people who do consume gluten
- when you decide to prepare a meal for your glutenfree guests yourself
- on holidays
- or in a restaurant
Glutenfree cooking is easy once you get a hang of it. The beginning might be difficult though, especially if you are not used to cooking with raw ingredients. Most of the ready foods and food ingredients (like sauces, marinades) are not suitable for making glutenfree meal. The second obstacle is when one needs to prepare such glutenfree meal in a kitchen where gluten is used. The chances of contamination are huge but it is possible to avoid it when the following rules are followed.
How to prepare a gluten free meal in a shared kitchen
- Find a dedicated corner/ piece of kitchen space/table where you can work.
- Clean the surface really well. Use hot water, soap and sponge/brush. Gluten is very sticky; think of it as you would need to remove glue from the surface.
3. Even better, use a clean, made of non-porous material and dedicated only for glutenfree cooking kitchen board/tray.
4. You will probably use your sink – I suggest cleaning it first. Keep separate glutenfree dish sponge and kitchen towels (e.g. paper towels).
5. It is easier to prepare raw/ not cooked meal. Make sure that knives, plates and other kitchen tools/utensils that you are going to use are very well cleaned (again: think of removing glue from it). Important, you can’t use the same toaster for both breads, with and without gluten.
6. The best option would be to keep dedicated utensils. Now, that can save you a lot of time if you know that you need to prepare such meals more often (otherwise you will spend additional hours on cleaning).
7. In case you need to prepare a dinner, keep in mind that your sticky frying pans are not suitable here. The traces of fat are the best hiding spots for gluten. Choose recipe where frying is not required or buy a new pan.
8. The oven is another risky zone. Avoid it or use an oven dish which can be closed during baking. Make sure the lid is sealed; wrap it in aluminum foil if necessary. There are oven-suitable baking bags in shops. It’s alright to use them.
9. Cooking and steaming (as long as in metal, glass or plastic utensils) are safer cooking techniques. The pots/surfaces are rather easy to clean.
10. All kitchen utensils made of plastic, glass or metal can be used. Wooden utensils are porous and thus not safe (unless new).
11. Remember of keeping your hands clean. Try not to touch any gluten during preparing the glutenfree meal and if you do – wash your hands.
12. Before choosing a menu, you should be informed if there are other food intolerances that you have to take into consideration. (Celiacs often can’t tolerate dairy and other grains).
13. Since gluten is a cheap and highly functional food ingredient, it is used in 99% of processed foods. It is safer to prepare the gluenfree meal using whole foods like meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds. The same counts for spices – try to use pure herbs rather than pre-packed spice blends.
14. The products marked with a glutenfree certificate/logo are safe to use (unless they contain another allergen that is not tolerable by your guests).
15. Keep in mind that the jars with jam, pesto or anything else in your fridge that was already used (assuming initially glutenfree) is already contaminated. Unfortunately, you need to purchase new jars if required in the recipe.
16. There are many blogs and websites posting glutenfree recipes (my glutenfree recipes). To save yourself time and trouble – you can just use some of them. Paleo recipes are totally safe too.
Easy Breakfast Idea
- Glutenfree cornflakes (not certified ones are not glutenfree) with almond/soy milk and fruits
- Glutenfree (fresh Genius*) bread with boiled eggs
Easy Lunch Ideas
- Gluten free (fresh Genius*) bread with smoked salmon, hummus or avocado
- Salads (without shop bought dressings)
Easy Dinner Ideas
- Homemade soups (without bullion blocks)
- Potatoes with homemade prepared meat or fish and salad (without shop bought marinades; important: soy sauce is not glutenfree unless certified)
Easy Dessert Ideas
- Sorbets / Fruits
- Glutenfree Genius muffins**
*Glutenfree Genius bread is available in AH supermarkets at the bread department. It is fresh thus excellent without the need to toast it (my review).
**Glutenfree Genius chocolate muffins are available in AH supermarkets at the bread department (my review).
I used Genius’s products in my suggestions only because they are easily available in all AH supermarkets in the entire country (in The Netherlands). They can be easily replaced by any other certified gluten free products.
If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to contact me. I am always happy to help!