Redesigning the kitchen? You ask. Huh? What do you mean? Well, if you’re very careful about crumbs, and you scald and occasionally oil your cutting boards, etc. this does not have to be a big deal. If you are only doing the first two levels of the one month gluten-free experiment, just setting some things aside is both sufficient and good fiscal and gluten-free practice.
If you’re doing the third or fourth level of our Month Without Gluten you have several things to remove from your kitchen tools – and others to think about.
For starters – if your cutting boards carry any cuts in them at all, and it turns out someone in the family is very gluten sensitive? You’ll need to replace the boards. Yes – that tiny an amount could be a problem. Short term fix for the month? Get yourself one of the flexible plastic cutting boards, and lay it over the wooden one while cutting vegetables, etc. for the gluten sensitive (GS) person. This improves the feel of the knife cutting, protects the counter, protects the knives, protects the person going gluten-free (GF) from old gluten in cuts, etc.. I don’t like plastic as a long term solution (dulls the knife, and they always get slashes across them) but short term? It’s a good idea. A decorative board you’ve never used might also be a good, one month solution.
Wooden spoons: Are they expensive, finely-polished ones, or cheaper, more porous ones? The first might still be usable, especially with a very fine sandpaper touch-up, but the cheap ones need to be bagged and put in that pantry box of canned and boxed foods containing gluten.
Many families with GS members are careful about their toasters, toaster ovens and microwaves. They keep the racks gently scrubbed clean, empty crumbs frequently, and always cover food to be micro waved, even if just with a paper towel. Some people go so far as to have a separate toaster for the GS family member, if children or others cannot be trusted to keep areas extremely clean.
How careful are you about cleaning that food processor? Could it be contributing to your problem? Soak and gently clean those disks of any possible dried flour. Is the plastic chamber going to pass inspection? (You know who you are….) Examine your mini-chopper. Impress people with how clean your chopper and immersion blender are!
Blenders – Same thing as food processors. Do you take apart your blender and clean the blades, rubber seal, etc. separately each time? You’re going to need to do it this time, to be thorough.
Again – this is not level one and two stuff unless you are already noticing improvements, and are thinking about improving how little gluten you are exposed to at home. This is level three and four stuff.
Do you have a flour sifter? Especially if it’s an old metal one – don’t use it with GF flours! Are there scratches in your plastic bowl with a sifter attachment? Bag it for the box. A Wisk can do your sifting for most things for the month experiment.
How about scratched plastic containers? We often wait until they look really bad to toss them, or until they discolor badly or crack. If they’re scratched, they go in the gluten box for the month. And if necessary, they become containers for non-food items!
Are you picky about cleaning where the knife blade and the handle meet? Check out that seam! If you bake bread and use the counter as a place to knead dough, you may need to eventually go after the seams of the sink, counter back splash and stove top, looking for old food crammed under lips and where grout has popped loose. But that’s for another day.
Anything you’re not going to use for the month, just make sure they are extremely clean and dry, bag them to protect against insects, and set them on top of the pantry box.
There. You’ve eliminated sources of cross-contamination, and if nothing else, your kitchen is now ready for a GF guest to feel safe eating there. If you go back to gluten at the end of the month, your spoons, containers and cutting board will be waiting for you.
Did I forget anything? If so, post it below, because I need to know, too!
Cat Kimbriel is a fantasy and science fiction writer with a practical streak, a passion for great characters, and a focus on justice and compassion. Her current ebooks can be found over here.