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Ennis_TX

Cooking and Eating in a Shared House

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I am going to write out several tips and options to making a safe prep area, and ideas for making your own cooking area. I used to live with gluten eaters and around the end got to the point of setting up a separate cooking area away from the main kitchen to maintain safety.

First tips to start off cheap, Cleaning out a microwave well, and investing in microwave cookware. Nordicware is one company, you can get grill plates with splatter covers (a must for covering anything), steamers, rice cookers, omelette makers, egg poachers, bacon racks, soup warmers, microwave cooking bowls, etc. Walmart's also keep other brands. And put down some paper towels in the bottom.

A layer of protection,
Butcher Paper is a lifesaver in many areas. I buy in bulk rolls and still to this day lay it out on my counters for a prep area. Not only does it provide a nice clean prep area for food, but makes clean up a breeze as you can pick it up and dust it off into a trash can or just toss it.
Aluminum Foil to line casserole dishes and baking sheets for the same reasons, although I still suggest having your own.
Crock Pot liners also help but beware of drip back from the lids (you can often source a dedicated lid as a spare part then put red tape on your handle or get your own pot)

Marking your cookware
Choose a color for your dedicated cookware and color code the kitchen. Many go with red, you can put red painters tape on your condiment jars, Tupperware,  cooking spoon handles, your skillet handles, knife handles etc. Choosing colored cookware and getting new dedicated items is also great, enameled cookware in your chosen color, and finding other products like wise to color code,

Setting your own areas.
We suggest trying to set your own areas for stuff, top shelves are great to prevent CC from anything above, So top shelf in the fridge (or get your own mini fridge), Top shelves in the cabinets etc. Bonus tip, keep your utensils separate from others and OUT OF THE DRAWERS, dear god you would not believe the amount of crumbs and contaminants that get swept into those things.

Extreme cases and Separate Cooking areas
Sometimes we can not work with others and meet compromise, these are some concepts for making your own safe area. I suggest setting these up in a separate room for yourself.
Bakers Racks, are a perfect area, set a min fridge/freezer combo to the side (You can use the top for storage), stock it with a microwave and induction cook top, maybe even a counter top oven/toaster. Heck investing in a Instapot is a GREAT idea I might suggest getting 2 if long term and building a kitchen in your room. I might suggest washing your own dishes separate. I started keeping a bus box them going and washing them in the tub.
I found keeping my dry products in cheap plastic ammo cans from Harbor Freight, on sale like $2-5 each. They have a air tight seal so great for storage, just put some tape on the outside and write on it.
IDEAS https://www.amazon.com/s?k=baker's+racks&hvadid=78065376852379
https://www.amazon.com/Mr-IRONSTONE-Microwave-Organizer-Workstation/dp/B07PHKN152
Now we can always go overboard but getting something like this is on the extreme end.
https://www.amazon.com/Breaktime-2130-Ready-Install-Espresso/dp/B01D507SX8/

 



 

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My newer larger crockpot is oval and the lid does not even fit properly.  I did not bother to take this pot back for an exchange again...., I figure it is a design flaw.  So, to help seal it, I add a piece of foil down on top of the crockpot.  Now my lid always says clean!  

I still have my early 1980’s smaller crockpot that works like a champ!  

Thanks for the tips!  

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