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Family Of 5 Adults gluten-free Kitchen Or gluten-free Space

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My BIL, nephew and MIL with Alzheimer are moving in. I will have a large kitchen and purchased a 4 foot granite island. With just my hubby and daughter we were gluten-free kitchen except bread, pasta,tub cookie dough and chips. They understand the last 5 years of change. The new family thinks they understand and MIL is clueless about cross contamination. I was planning gluten-free kitchen and island for them. Is this realistic? I will be cooking my regular gluten-free way for all. Gma will have a small fridge in her den for HER stuff. She cc my mayo every bbq. So I have my own. My BIL thinks it would be safer to have a reg kitchen and gluten-free island. Has anyone been through this?

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I think MIL will need a lot of watching because she can't get it?

If most of the food people will eat is gluten-free, then most of the kitchen should be gluten-free. At my house, I am the only one that has to be gluten-free. But really, most food is gluten-free. Bread, pasta, crackers, etc might be gluteny. They have a counter & cabinet for that stuff. They bring a bowl to that counter and then fill it with gluten crackers. They cut cheese or get out cold cuts first onto the plate on the regular ( gluten-free) counter. Then take it to the table & bring crackers over or over to the gluten counter & get bread. We have to use the same stove top, micro, & oven of course. I have separate pans in a separate cabinet with cooking utensils. Using a colored tape on things helps them to see what is kept gluten-free. My kids were teens when we started this and it has worked well for them. These people are new to your house, so they don't have to unlearn habits of where to do what. If they will be eating a lot of sandwich fixings & the gluten-free people will, too, then it might help to have yours & mine. Mark gluten-free with the colored tape, poison stickers, or Superwoman stickers.

It's your house, I don't think people you are letting live there should dictate how it's run. If they don't like it ( with the exception of MIL who needs some sort of care) - they can leave.

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Your BIL has no right to expect a regular gluten kitchen and confine you to an island - unless he is paying the bills and you are the guest :o Your house, your rules, says I.

Yes, the island for BIL and nephew is realistic. MIL should be kept out of the kitchen or not permitted to touch anything in the kitchen. Keep all her foods in her room and you serve her food to her - she does not help herself. Otherwise you are inviting cross-contamination disaster. Is there storage on the island for gluten-containing foods? And separate hand-towel and pot mitts and pots if they are going to do any cooking?

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If you can get all parties to co-operate it is safer (IMO) to keep the gluten contained to one area. That way you are not having to worry about cleaning/avoiding as large of an area of the kitchen and you can also ask them to just clean the island as opposed to cleaning the whole kitchen before you can use it. Asking guests to keep clean a smaller area seems more realistic too. You having a "gluten-free" island in the middle of landmines full of gluten is going to be risky for your health. I'm also sort of of the opinion that this is your kitchen so you should get preference and make the rules. Another thing you may consider even though you said grandma will have her own mini fridge in her room, you should seriously think about getting a lock for the fridge and maybe baby locks for the cabinets to make them more difficult to open. I know some people with Alzheimer's will do odd things in the evenings and may not remember what they did or where they are. It's very unlikely that she will know that she can't use your condiments. You never know if she would get up in the middle of the night and make herself a sandwhich or something. :o

Good luck!

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Absolutely a gluten free kitchen with a gluten island. It is your kitchen and the vast majority of it needs to be safe. best scenario would be an island with storage for gluten foods, especially foods that leave crumbs like bread, crackers and cereal.

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Gluten free kitchen. I am the only gluten-free out of 3 of us but since I cook it's my way. They have one small refrig drawer, one small shelf in the bottom of the pantry & must keep any gluten on one small part of the counter. It works since 95% of the food is gluten-free. I look at it this way - I am the one that runs the risk of getting sick, not them. Selfish? No, I don't think so.

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I think you should talk to them about making mistakes. Even though they're grown ups, it is bound to happen and you need to emphasize that you expect it in the beginning.

They will dig their hands into the gluten-free chips. But instead of hiding it and not telling you, they should make sure to tell you and write their name on the bag (or strip your tape off, or take it out of your cabinet and put it in the gluten cabinet) so you know that the chips have been cc'd. You won't be mad if they tell you, you will be mad if they don't and you get sick! Same with using your strainer, toaster, wooden spoons, and mayo. You absolutely do not want them to touch anything with your name on it (or colored tape, or sticker, or whatever), but if it accidentally happens, they have to tell you.

You might want to draw up a contract for everyone to sign and post it on the fridge. Or at least the ground rules and post them on the fridge. Leave some literature about Celiac laying around the house - articles, books you own, pieces of paper with websites. Don't force it on them, but if it's around, they'll eventually pick it up.

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My BIL, nephew and MIL with Alzheimer are moving in. I will have a large kitchen and purchased a 4 foot granite island. With just my hubby and daughter we were gluten-free kitchen except bread, pasta,tub cookie dough and chips. They understand the last 5 years of change. The new family thinks they understand and MIL is clueless about cross contamination. I was planning gluten-free kitchen and island for them. Is this realistic? I will be cooking my regular gluten-free way for all. Gma will have a small fridge in her den for HER stuff. She cc my mayo every bbq. So I have my own. My BIL thinks it would be safer to have a reg kitchen and gluten-free island. Has anyone been through this?

(emphasis mine)

Excuse me? Whose kitchen is it anyway? You are the one who has Celiac disease! You are the one whose health is at risk! You are the ONLY one who has anything at risk here. Frankly if it was me, the entire house would be gluten free and if that was not workable then there would not be any moving. You are changing your life to allow them in, but in so doing you are putting yourself at risk and you need to manage that risk at an acceptable level to you. If you are willing to subordinate your health for their comfort, fundamentally showing them that they are more important than your life and health, than that is your decision. If you feel that a manageable and acceptable risk level is gluten-free kitchen with an island for them, that is also your decision as it is your risk, not theirs.

That may sound callous and uncaring, but in reality I believe that placing yourself in an at risk situation that you are not comfortable with is more callous and uncaring to your husband and daughter.

* Edited for clarity *

Edited by Korwyn
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Excuse me? Whose kitchen is it anyway? You are the one who has Celiac disease! You are the one whose health is at risk! You are the ONLY one who has anything at risk here. Frankly if it was me, the entire house would be gluten free and if that was not workable then there would not be any moving. You are changing your life to allow them in, but in so doing you are putting yourself at risk and you need to manage that risk at an acceptable level to you. If you are willing to subordinate your health for their comfort, fundamentally showing them that they are more important than your life and health, than that is your decision. If you feel that a manageable and acceptable risk level is gluten-free kitchen with an island for them, that is also your decision as it is your risk, not theirs.

That may sound callous and uncaring, but in reality I believe that placing yourself in an at risk situation that you are not comfortable with is more callous and uncaring to your husband and daughter.

uh. Yeah. Ignore everything I said. Korwyn is right. They are moving into YOUR house, too bad if it's inconvenient for them.

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My mother had early-onset Alzheimer's, so I'm speaking from experience here. (Didn't know I had celiac at the time, so didn't deal with CC issues, but I know about the memory problems.) Your MIL with Alzheimer's will NOT be able to remember CC issues. She will NOT be able to remember which side of the kitchen is gluten free and which isn't. You can mark things gluten vs not as much as you want, but it won't help once she reaches a certain point. Expecting her to be able to remember all these details is unfair to her and unrealistic. It's hard enough for people without Alzheimer's to remember these details. I hope I'm not speaking too bluntly because I'm not meaning to be harsh or unkind. I'd just hate for your family to have unrealistic expectations about what she can deal with in the kitchen.

Honestly, moving to a new home will be very stressful for her and may cause her a lot of confusion and anxiety at first. (My mother went through crying spells as she was slowing feeling herself slip away. It was worse when she was stressed.) I can't imagine adding CC issues that she's supposed to learn into the mix!! And having her in your home will also be stressful for you until you get a routine down. I would strongly suggest that you make your entire home gluten free to cut down on the stress you will all be experiencing. At a minimum, lock up the gluten-containing foods, so she can't have access to them unsupervised.

Good luck to you and your family. Alzheimer's is a horrible, horrible disease.

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