Running a mixed kitchen, where gluten-free and gluten-containing meals are prepared in the same kitchen, is possible but risky. Here are some ideas to make it work.
If your gluten free diet is more of a life-style choice than a serious health concern, running a mixed kitchen makes sense. Probably you won’t be worried if the odd crumb works its way into your meal. If you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, the odd crumb could ruin the next month so running a mixed kitchen is far from ideal. It is necessary in some situations so here are some ideason how to successfully run a mixed kitchen.
Cross-contamination from foods containing wheat into gluten-free food is the main concern. Avoiding gluten also means avoiding oats, barely and rye, but wheat is the most common source of gluten.
Keeping Gluten Free Food Separated
If you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, there are two things to watch out for with the food in your mixed kitchen: grabbing the wrong package by mistake and cross contamination.
Some food brands have gluten-free and glutinated versions and the packaging isn’t always so differentiated. For example, some brads of cookie use essentially the same moarketing (packaging, package design, look and taste of cookie) but have wheat-based formulations and gluten-free formulations for those on a gluten free diet. The gluten-free and glutenated versions may have similar colours, although not actually the same, so it could be easy to just grab the wrong one when you aren’t thinking.
Cross contamination is always a worry with some types of food, for example: butter, jam and honey can suffer from “double dipping”. Who can resist using the spreading knife to get more butter for your toast? I do it myself with gluten-free bread.
The best way to solve both problems is two-fold: 1) Keep gluten-free food separated from glutenated food. Separate cupboards if possible or at least separate shelves. 2) Carefully label all gluten-free foods. Have separate butter dishes for gluten-intended toast vs. gluten-free toast and make sure the dishes are obviously different (different design, different colour etc.) Make sure all in the household are disciplined to use the right butter, jam, honey, condiments etc according to they type of bread/buns etc they are eating.
Food can be marked with a variety of stickers, anything from stickers you print yourself that say “Gluten Free”, to a permanent marker, to coloured dot stickers.
What is your experience with keeping gluten free food separate from gluten-containing food in a mixed kitchen? Please leave a comment.