It has taken me almost six years of trying to live wheat and dairy-free to learn some of the hidden dangers in my kitchen. Reading cookbooks, blogs, and magazines I’ve learned about cross-contamination. The crazy thing is I saw the effects of cross-contamination at a family supper many years ago — we didn’t know what it was called.
One of my brothers had a severe allergy to any kind of beans. Mama always cooked vegetable soup or other mixtures separate for him. She even had to stop cooking the pinto beans when he was in the house. One night we all dug into one of her great pots of vegetable soup. She had a separate one for my brother, but as he ate a bite or two, he suddenly announced that his throat was closing up. He stopped eating the soup, and Mama tried to think of what could have been in the soup. She finally remembered that she had used the same metal spoon in both soup! That’s cross-contamination..
Here is a how I prepare one of favorite “breakfast” suppers for Larry and me. The menu is French toast, hash browns, and a ham and cheese omelet for him. The hash browns are not a problem; we can both eat from the same skillet. I obviously have to use different bread if I want French toast, but I also have to use a clean skillet and a clean or different utensil. I make two different omelets since I can’t have the cheese.
This particular meal requires me to be extra careful in the mixing and cooking; I don’t do this very often because it is so easy to mix things up.
I don’t even try to make French toast for me — it’s too many skillets to wash. I toast some some thinly sliced pumpernickel bread in my toaster. (We have two toasters.) Since the hash browns are ready, I just need to make my omelet.
Step 7: mix up my omelet using the rice milk and a clean measuring cup or mixing bowl.
I didn’t take a picture of my messy kitchen after making this meal!
Do I really have to be this careful? I’ve had so many reactions that have just been a mystery in trying to determine what food caused it. So often I cannot identify anything I’ve eaten that contained any form of wheat or milk, so this careful cooking is the only solution. Some things I’ve never even considered as cross-contamination have come from reading blogs. Using the same peanut butter jar means a knife that spread peanut butter on a piece of wheat bread may have crumbs on it when it goes back in the jar. Same goes for jelly and jam. We now have labeled jars in the pantry.
I am thankful that so much information is available today on ways to manage cooking and eating as I live wheat-free and dairy-free.
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