Monday, April 22, 2013
Oh my gluten-free cross- contamination spectrum got a big challenge during the spring holiday season of peanut butter cookies and other classic homemade treats. I have safe gluten-free thinking and action plans in place in my household. I can hear the demand in my head. I use it like a spontaneous recording played often to remind myself of ‘Find It and Stop That’; my nick name for my diet plan. My ‘That’ is forms of pain swelling and discomfort of food allergies and intolerances that go along with just breathing it touching it or eating any food with gluten or my other intolerant foods assembled in my kitchen. A blend of what I eat after using the elimination diet then becomes what I cannot eat turns into a comprehensive low glycemic guide just for me. This is a reoccurring dilemma.
What do I offer a beloved guest or child who wants to eat here? My usual pattern was to reach for the fresh scratch ingredients to serve the best? The best color flavor texture and temperature are important to me. And what is almost as bad is when I explored the optional alternative by allowing these loved ones to assemble the food while I watched over someone’s shoulder. Silly me I was still exposing myself to food assembling ingredients I can no longer tolerate. Lucky for hosting ego me my house guest usually wants to help in the kitchen. Today I can say, I will guide but not from the same room. That homemade pizza crust or cheesy bread they adore or batter coated onion rings or fried chicken hot with a fresh crunch will not be made by me any more.
Here is my effective blend of the real food with won’t actions...
I teach them how to get what they want while I get what I want by my staying in the other room away from any particles of gluten dust. For example Christmas giving with heavily floured homemade gifts (Wow they were awesome) was the long standing tradition in my family. Mom is a great cook! A change for the better would only occur when I learned to remove gluten and intolerant stuff, like wheat flour, which seemed to be in practically everything. Let’s remove it from my vicinity at any time for any holiday or event. And included in their helpful efforts these days as a must do ruling is to see that all surfaces do get a serious soapy wet washing to remove the ‘ouchly’ materials from my getting any chance of exposure. We tried my using the mask and gloves, or the mixing inside zip lock baggie, or the breathe holding on my part as the mixer stirs dry white powder from an open bowl into the air and on all surfaces, should I attempt to participate. It just acted as a way to cheat myself. I can’t eat it why should I do it? What a crazy false attempt in my thinking and actions that was! The family wanted to eat and I was chief cook and bottle washer. Gluten-free changes have been made and accepted.
Does pleasing someone I care about have to include self suffering, you ask? My answer is a definite, ‘No’. How can I avoid gluten ingredients and still believe fresh from scratch is still the best? How can I live gluten-free and intolerant food-free while still using those old unacceptable gluten skill sets? My conclusion is I can’t! Things had to change for everyone’s comfort. There are thousands of recipes in my cook books that are all kitchen tested and marvelous and many great beloved recipes remain in my head because I have used them so often. A pinch of this and a dash of that is my reality. I love to cook.
Do I put those valuable lessons and experiences on hold then walk away and never use them again? Or do I assist the next generation in gaining valuable lessons of self reliance and rewarding kitchen skills? Now I add into their cooking lesson plan the learning to care for my gluten-free (strict guideline following) kitchen? Maybe in their future these honored protections to avoid ‘cross contaminating a loved one’ are skills worth knowing in a future gluten-free kitchen they and others will benefit from practicing. We all live in the real world. And my sound ‘Won’t’ actions work for me.
So I did try to lie to myself by cutting corners but not any more. One every special gluten-free promoting doctor once wrote that some people take up to three years of denial before true strict gluten-free habits are in place. Because I want people to be comfortable in my home I allow them to work with gluten rich ingredients in my kitchen. I may not be a true Celiac but the pain and discomfort is real. I had to see it and feel it and be aware of my actions in the crossover steps to go strictly gluten-free. Cross contamination may always play a part in my life with this generous host ruling. To reach a successful goal one has to think about the desired changes that have become necessary one step at a time. It is no longer just a whim. Not doing it my self and not being in the area is required. Seeing that the follow up steps get done is necessary in my good hosting goal to keep out dust trouble. Even cross contamination from the dust harm that fell to the packaging countertop surfaces and the floor does lead to any tummy screaming negative events. Sorry folks my denial is gone, no more of my holiday goodies will have gluten rich flour flavors unless someone else assembles them. Or I’ll buy them! But I believe my family could feel lucky. My peanut butter cookies have found a new tried and true recipe and I can remain on my diet!
In the end of each food preparing event of my house guest, I sure enjoy the simple pride I see on their faces when the novice cook views a dish they have created for the first time then takes that first bite! A bite rich in color flavor and textures that I use to enjoy experiencing. Ones that come from knowing they too can assemble those wonderful gluten rich recipes. I have learned to encourage but I do not enable my old cross contamination habits. They say I can still keep my good hostess cap. The events at my place are fun. Let’s do it again sometime because the joy in the comfort food they make tastes of pride new confidence.