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I Am A Cook, So How Do I...?
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SO I cook at a retirement facility and I need to taste test some stuff occasionally that I obviously cannot eat. I am wondering what the consensus is on testing pasta? If I bite it and rinse my mouth do you think I would be contaminated?

What about a soup or sauce? If I taste a little in the "front" of my mouth, spit it out and rinse; does it still get in my system if I never actually swallow any of it?

Sometimes I have another person in the kitchen with me that can test but lately there has been only me. This is really tough...Thanks! Terri O

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Celiac antibodies are present in saliva. You cannot put gluten in your mouth without provoking some small degree of immune reaction. You also won't be able to rinse out 100% of the gluten from pasta. It will stick to your teeth unless you go brush them and even t hen you will likely swallow particles of it. If it were me, I would be looking for a new job.

There are studies showing many celiacs can tolerate a few milligrams of of gluten so if you absolutely, positively have no choice whatsoever (i.e. you will be out on the street with no job otherwise), work with your doctor to follow up with a repeat antibody test and biopsy in six months and see if you're healing.

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With pasta, I'd cut a piece on a plate and see how it looks inside. For soup, I'd have a colleague do it, or make friends with a few nurses aides and see if you can get one to pop into the kitchen on their break for a free bowl of soup or bring out a few samples for them to taste. Really, I think this is a good reason to have very specific recipes and stick closely to them, but I know how that goes. (I worked in a hospital kitchen that also served nursing home residents. I know change isn't easy.)

But really, DON'T sample it if you can help it. You may find your reactions worsen as you heal up, and you'll be in a world of hurt. :(

My husband just kissed me goodbye an hour after a gluten-free meal with non-gluten-free salad dressing on his little salad and my right hand started to tingle within a minute (how I know I've been cc'd). He thought the dressing was gluten-free and I thought he was done eating long enough for it to not matter. Nope! I can't imagine purposely tasting anything at this point. it's just not worth the illness.

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