Mixed Family Cooking: Cooking safe for allergies or dietary choices.
If you’re preparing a meal that includes items with and without gluten it is important to keep in mind that gluten spores can be airborne in flour and baking mixes and should be prepared first and before any gluten containing items are prepared or cooked, while the kitchen is clean. Gluten free items should be put in a serving dish and covered with plastic wrap.
LABEL PACKAGED FOODS THAT ARE SAFE:
- Read labels very carefully, be aware of possible brand names or other words that are used for offending ingredients. Check list of ‘other names’ can be found on the www.good2eat4U.com website
- Label safe items with colored tape or waterproof marker and keep them in a separate container, preferably sealed with an airtight lid or keep them inside a plastic bags.
- Bought jarred spices can contain gluten or powdered dairy as a filler or included in a flavor profile.. Keep the safe spices separate and well labeled: put a red ‘X’ on the lid so that you don’t grab the wrong one by mistake.
WASH HANDS, STEP BY STEP
- Before you start cooking and between steps.
- Wash as long as it takes to sing the first verse of happy birthday, up to the name. Yep it takes that long.
- Soap and water work more efficiently than antibacterial gel.
TO AVOID CROSS-CONTAMINATION WHILE PREPARING FOOD:
- Counter tops and stove tops should be washed with antiseptic wipes or cleaning solutions used with a very wet sponge that has been microwaved for 3 minutes while wet, let it cool before handling it.
- Ideally: use different colored tools: cutting boards, measuring items, baking spatula, cooking spoons, pans (I have a glass sauce pan that goes easily into the dishwasher).
- Wooden utensils can be cleaned with the cut edge of a lemon, metal will be sterile if run through the dishwasher. In either case it’s best if used on a specified counter space.
- Everything used should be put into the dishwasher immediately and not used unless sterilized.
TO AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION WHILE COOKING:
- Some people are sensitive to particles in the air during cooking, in extreme cases, they should be kept out of the cooking area and a window should be opened with a fan pointing out, to keep the vapor from being carried into the rest of the room or building.
- Begin cooking foods without the allergen, remove appropriate serving, plate it and over with plastic wrap and then cook including the unsafe items.
- A wire whisk and other mixing utensils separated by a different color or a shape or even a rubber band wrapped around the handle is helpful as well, keep them in separated drawers or containers, near your prep area.
- Using a spoon or tongs from one pot to another can cause an allergic reaction, be conscious and aware of all of your efforts to keep the allergic members of your family healthy.
- Bake items without gluten and dairy first in a freshly cleaned oven, do not bake them together. Stuffing, breaded poultry, pizza should all be baked separate.
- Keeping a designated counter-top baking oven to make toast, will eliminate the need for a separate toaster, and can be used for cooking other gluten, diary or nut free items.
A vegan is someone who chooses to completely avoid using or consuming animals or animal products. While it may be easier to eat a vegan diet in your own kitchen, dining out may be difficult. Vegans avoid animal oils, milk and eggs. Many chefs use these as staples to their recipes. Veganism is growing in popularity throughout the world. More restaurants are able to properly cater to this lifestyle than in years prior. Staples of a vegan diet include: legumes, vegetables, potatoes, soymilk, soy products, and grains. Animal products can be found in baked goods, chocolate, candies, condiments, bread, chips, and many prepackaged foods. Vegans follow a strict avoidance of all animal products. What is the difference between a vegan and vegetarian? A vegetarian is a general term used to describe someone who does not eat meat, poultry, fish or other seafood. Sub-categories of vegetarians include ovo-lacto vegetarians, ovo-vegetarians, and lacto-vegetarians. Most vegetarians identify as ovo-lacto vegetarians, or vegetarians who still consume eggs and milk. Ovo-vegetarians do not consume meat, poultry, fish or seafood but do consume eggs. Lacto-vegetarians are vegetarians that consume milk and dairy products. If you are choosing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, consult with a physician or dietician to ensure you are consuming a balanced diet.
An egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, but is often outgrown over time. Symptoms of an egg allergy can include hives, vomiting/nausea, skin rashes, nasal inflammation, difficulty breathing, and rarely, anaphylaxis. An egg allergy is caused when the immune system mistakenly identify specific proteins in an egg as harmful. It is more common to be allergic to a protein contained in the egg white that the yolk, however, potential allergens are found in both. If you are allergic to eggs, the only way to prevent a reaction is to completely avoid consuming eggs. While some food products obviously contain eggs, others are not so obvious. Some “hidden sources” of eggs may be pretzels, some commercial brands of egg substitutes, and some commercially cooked pasta. More obvious sources of eggs are cakes and several baked deserts, mayonnaise, meringue, and marshmallows. When you are dining out with an egg allergy, avoid foods you are unsure of. Vegan dishes usually do not contain eggs, but to be safe, check with the chef or restaurant manager. Always inform your server or the restaurant manager of any allergies or dietary restrictions. Don’t be afraid to emphasize the severity of your reaction and ask questions. If you suspect you may be allergic to any foods, consult with your physician.